SAP is teaming with the San Jose Sharks in the hopes it has a winner with a new version of Business ByDesign.
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The software maker is currently working with the San Jose, Calif.-based NHL hockey team and its parent company, Silicon Valley Sports & Entertainment group, to further develop a sports and entertainment management version of the on-demand ERP as a part of its plan to spin out industry-specific versions of the application.
“[SAP] came to us and said, ‘We want to build a sports solution specifically that can be launched by other teams here in the U.S.’” said Malcolm Bordelon, executive vice president of business operations for the Sharks. “We’re helping build that and structure it.”
While development is still in the early phases -- SAP has declined to say when the project might be made generally available -- the application caters to the needs of sports and entertainment management companies with diverse revenue streams that range from advertising contracts and merchandise to ticket sales.
The application also has to integrate with the reporting systems used by the NHL and the AHL, according to Michael Lehr, executive vice president of business development for the Sharks.
“We had to find ways to integrate those into Business ByDesign,” Lehr said.
‘A complete system’
The idea for the application grew out of the Shark’s existing relationship with SAP, which includes SAP co-founder Hasso Plattner’s partial ownership of Silicon Valley Sports & Entertainment itself.
Implementation began in December, and the organization currently uses the finance and CRM capabilities, according to Lehr, with more functionality on the way. Future plans include integration with Ticketmaster, the nation’s largest ticketing vendor. Additional Business ByDesign functionality is being planned for areas like facility management, scouting, point-of-sales interface, contract management and event planning, to name a few.
Silicon Valley Sports & Entertainment is currently using SAP Business ByDesign to manage the business operations of its teams and facilities -- which include the San Jose Sharks as well as the Worcester (Mass.) Sharks, its minor league NHL team -- its public ice skating facilities, the SAP Open tennis tournament and a handful of other events, as well as a merchandise company that makes corporate-branded clothing.
Before implementing Business ByDesign, the company was using a hodgepodge of SAP products, including R/3 for finance and Business One for its merchandising operations.
“We’ve operated without a complete system like this for a long time,” the Sharks’ Lehr said.
Future industry-specific versions of Business ByDesign
The sports and event management version of Business ByDesign is just one example of kind of industry-specific versions that SAP will be rolling out in the coming months and years, according to Rainer Zinow, senior vice president of Business ByDesign at SAP.
Much in the same way it enlisted Bramasol Inc., an SAP partner, to create additional user interfaces and functionality for the sports package, SAP is working with partners to create many of those applications. Those versions will be developed by building off of the core of Business ByDesign, he said.
“The sports and stadium solution is at least a good 80% reuse of the existing functionality of Business ByDesign, so there wasn’t a lot of application code to be built to turn a multipurpose ERP kernel into a sports and stadium solution,” he said.
Future versions include one for real estate management.
“If you’re a company, and you own lots of flats, you need an application in which you can manage rental contracts,” Zinow said. SAP is also working on extending the current professional services provider version of Business ByDesign so that the company can target larger consulting firms, he said.
SAP also plans to work with partners to roll out specific versions that cater to the same 21 ERP “industry flavors” that SAP currently provides, he said, ranging from the oil and gas industry to the public sector.
Lessons for future versions
SAP has learned a lot about the extensibility of Business ByDesign during the current process, Zinow said, but there are other things that have been developed for the application that could find their way into future versions, such as the point-of-sales infrastructure.
“That is something that I can imagine in a lot of trade scenarios,” Zinow said. “There are many more companies out there that are selling merchandise. They will say, ‘Yes, I don’t have an ice hockey team, but I have merchandise that I want to sell.’”
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