SAP Business ByDesign - happy customers and significant progress

Den Howlett Profile picture for user gonzodaddy May 20, 2016
BYD is beyond alive and kicking, it's kicking ass. Here's what I learned from SAPPHIRE Now 2016

As I mentioned in the SAPPHIRE preview, I had the privilege of addressing a couple hundred SAP Business ByDesign customers this year. It's something I rarely do but this is a topic close to my heart so it wasn't stressful. A few things come to mind about the morning session.

Steve Singh, who heads this unit at the board level is laser focused. He committed to supporting customers as you'd expect but he also gave them a taste of what to expect, the most obvious example of which is integration of travel and expense into the BYD solution from Concur. It's a no brainer from my perch and will be a welcome addition.

For my part, I repeated what I have always said: SAP has the most complete vision of a cloud based, integrated solution for the mid-market for certain industries. Others will howl with dissent but the fact remains that when you buy into BYD, you buy into a single solution that can get you up and running for a clutch of industries. On scale, BYYD can now process at up to 10,000 invoices an hour. That's not shabby and is the result of a close relationship SAP has had with Intel for many years. Very few other vendors can boast that kind of outcome from cooperation with hardware vendors.

Among other things though I learned that BYD has been approved as a certified solution for situations requiring FDA compliance. That's a big deal Customers say that for PSA applications, BYD is competitive. There are always things that can be added but there's plenty of content for customers to consume. In manufacturing, SAP has a technical lead but my personal sense is that it needs to do more to be attractive as a full 'plant floor to top floor' solution of the kind we have seen elsewhere.

One huge surprise to me: customers consider upgrades that occur on a quarterly cycle to be a non-event. I had anticipated that new functionality might be difficult to consume on that release cycle but none of the customers in the session expressed concern about this aspect of the solution. All however wish they had taken additional training - not an uncommon response.

business bydesign
On the roadmap, SAP provided comprehensive details about country specific work that's in the pipeline. This complemented questions from the floor which perhaps reflects the fact that customers are considering fresh rollouts into new territories. This is always a knotty problem for any software vendor. I also learned that SAP now has 140 ISV partners and 2,070 add-on apps. That last number is up 70% year over year.

Afterwards, I spoke with Rainer Zinow and Michael Schmitt, who have been the stalwart supporters for BYD inside SAP for the last several years. They told me that in the last year, BYD has more or less doubled the number of legal entities that are contracted to the solution to more than 3,200. That's an excellent achievement for a line of business that has not been shown a great deal of attention by SAP and speaks to the commitment of the leadership to make BYD stick as a solution. While SAP is cautious, I look forward to hearing they have crossed the 5,000 milestone - sometime next year perhaps.

But what I really wanted was to get in front of a customer. We were offered Skullcandy, one of the earliest BYD customers and now a publicly traded company. The video that follows tells that story. Some will argue that this is a big yawn because like other vendors, SAP is only showcasing its most reliable case study. I argue this is poignant in Skullcandy's case because during the period it committed to SAP, BYD had three near death experiences as SAP both ironed out technical wrinkles and vacillated on how best to take the solution forward. Keeping the faith speaks more to the quality of what SAP provided to its customer than the internal goings on in the BYD team.

Regardless, I have a good feeling about BYD's future in the hands of Steve Singh and the later acknowledgment by CEO Bill McDermott that it is growing triple digits.

Moreover, Skullcandy also make the point that just because you have a SaaS solution doesn't mean you don't do regression testing. However, the amount of testing needed is often a fraction of what would be needed in an on-premise environment.

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