SAP is rolling out the next iteration of its on-demand ERP suite SAP Business ByDesign, which includes a number of enhancements the company says underscores how it is accelerating the development of the software as an application as well as a platform.
The new release includes a number of changes, such as a new mobile support for Windows 7, an additional integration scenario for companies using Business ByDesign as part of a two-tier ERP and an improved software development kit (SDK), according to SAP.
It also includes a number of additions to the core Business ByDesign suite, particularly around revenue recognition automation.
“You’re going to see continued refinement of the core ERP platform to really round it out and make it as robust as we possibly can,” according to Frank Iannotti, head of SAP Business ByDesign for North America.
A growing role for ecosystem partners
SAP Business ByDesign Feature Pack 3.0 includes a more streamlined development process that lets developers get their applications into the online SAP Business ByDesign store more quickly. It also includes a new implementation project template as well as an object-based navigation wizard, according to the company.
Those kinds of changes are a positive sign that SAP is getting closer to taking full advantage of a still growing Business ByDesign ecosystem, according to Stefan Ried, an analyst with Forrester Research Inc., who specializes in cloud applications and business process platforms.
“It was unclear, until now, what functionality is for SAP and what is left for the partners,” Ried said.
One new advantage of the online store is that customers can now check to see if the Business ByDesign extension being considered would work with the company’s type of tenancy for ByDesign.
“If a partner extension conflicts with one part of the SAP delivered functionality, the SAP store will alert you if you have that particular functionality on,” Ried said. If companies don’t have that particular functionality turned on, he added, they won’t get the message.
“SAP has enabled quite a lot in enabling extensions from partners to be deployed without a lot of potential disaster,” he said.
SAP Business ByDesign enables customer feedback
Business ByDesign customers can now add their voice to the mix when it comes to requests for enhancements to Business ByDesign.
With the new release, customers can go online to the SAP Ideas ByDesign site and post requests according to industry type or functional area, as well as give suggestions on what should go into future feature packs, according to SAP.
Additional integrations for two-tier ERP scenarios
The 2.6 version of Business ByDesign that SAP released in February included a preconfigured financial integration that allows parent companies, which may be running SAP ERP at the corporate level but have subsidiaries running Business ByDesign, to communicate along global financial reporting standards.
The new 3.0 release adds a new integration around common procurement processes. That allows the headquarters to have up-to-date information on the status of orders coming into its subsidiary so that both sides are on the same page.
“If the inventory is stored in Business Suite, and you’re referencing and selling it out of ByDesign, the two systems talk in a real-time nature,” Iannotti said.
Enhancements to the core
SAP Business ByDesign 3.0 includes a number of new professional services features, according to SAP, including the ability to handle complex revenue and billing scenarios, such as deferred payment schedules.
“In talking to the customers, they wanted more capabilities around handling complex revenue recognition roles,” Iannotti said.
Companies that sell a product or a service that has a deferred payment schedule can handle the revenue recognition side in conjunction with an automated billing cycle while still keep those two separate, he said.