SAP still hasn't made its long-awaited on-demand ERP application generally available -- but it is beginning to offer enhancements to existing customers.
SAP announced today that it has integrated Web services into its Business ByDesign software and is including mashups with Google, MapQuest and BusinessWire, among others.
It's the first announced enhancement to the on-demand ERP software since SAP scaled back its release more than a year ago. Two years ago, SAP debuted Business ByDesign -- targeted at small and medium-sized businesses -- to much fanfare, only to declare later that it was reworking the product as a result of customer feedback. Business ByDesign was based on an isolated-tenancy model, and analysts said SAP couldn't figure out how to make the software profitable.
With the new Web services, a sales representative could gather prospect information and plan the ideal route for his sales trip with MapQuest in the context of his system, according to the release. One or more Web services can be used with the software, or internal data services can be enriched with external or personalized information.
"Providing our services within the solution enables users to be more productive," Bruno Bourguet, SAP's senior vice president of sales, said in a press release. "This is a great example of how Web services can add value in the business context."
A total of nine Web services are available now at no charge to SAP's Business ByDesign customers, 40 of which are using the software in production, while another 40 have not yet gone live with the software, according to SAP. These customers are in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France, India and China.
Since pushing back the release date, SAP has re-architected Business ByDesign on a multi-tenant basis in order to make it cheaper to propagate upgrades across its customer base. Analysts expect Business ByDesign to be released sometime next year.
In addition to Google, MapQuest and BusinessWire, customers -- depending on geography -- will have access to Hoover's, MorningStar Inc. and Navteq/Map24. German customers will also have access to Falk Online, a mapping service, and GoYellow.de, which is directory assistance.