SAP is expanding its newly created line of SAP Rapid Deployment software, which it says gives customers the ability to buy cheaper, slimmed-down versions of its more complicated Business Suite applications and can be deployed in a few months.
Like the five Rapid Deployment programs SAP launched last fall, the new applications are designed to be “one slice or a chunk” of larger enterprise applications but address a certain function or specific need, according to Jeff Winter, vice president of Rapid Deployment Solutions marketing for SAP.
For example, Winter said, instead of companies paying for an entire CRM application, they can purchase a version of CRM for just sales, or just marketing.
SAP feels that there’s a long list of Rapid Deployment applications that can be created from existing software, he said.
“There’s very little of the SAP portfolio that we don’t think fits this model,” Winter said.
The new SAP applications are in finance, human resources, IT, marketing, manufacturing, sales, service, supply chain and sustainable operations. Last fall SAP introduced versions in sales, service, marketing, business portfolio management and supplier relationship management.
Approximately 140 companies are currently using one of the current applications launched last year, Winter said, many of whom are still trying and evaluating the product.
Those numbers are respectable, said Jon Reed, an independent SAP analyst.
Still, none of the companies Reed deals with had expressed an interest in the product, he said. That’s in part because the applications are competing more for cutting-edge technology like in-memory computing and HANA, the high-speed analytics appliance.
Despite Reed’s perception that the products weren’t getting a lot of attention from analysts and customers, he said that the application fills a desire by customers to purchase only what they need. Companies can successfully get the application up and running and expand later on as the need evolves.
The limited size of the application and the fact that a fixed cost of implementation comes included in the purchase ensures the cost of consulting fees won’t exceed the cost of implementation.
Yet customers need to remember that even with a rapid-deployment application, they still have to figure on testing and change management issues.
“You can’t just flip a switch on this stuff,” he said.
SAP plans on rolling out new Rapid Deployment applications each quarter, with upcoming applications planned in supply chain management, product development and manufacturing, transportation management, human resources, finance and IT.