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SAP Business ByDesign Review

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Business ByDesign Strengths and Weaknesses

Competitive positioning in the cloud CRM market is highlighted with the following strengths and weaknesses.

SAP Strengths

  • ByDesign is one of a few enterprise-wide SaaS business systems. The product delivers fully integrated ERP and CRM functions designed to meet the objectives, requirements and budget constraints of its SME target market.
  • The SAP brand carries weight in a vendor selection process. The company is a global leader and benefits from over four decades of building and supporting sophisticated business applications.
  • Business ByDesign is strong in business process automation. Its visual process walkthrough and process design empower customers to automate highly repetitive as well as exception condition processes.
  • The SAP Cloud App Store is a marketplace where apps and other add-ons can be purchased to enhance the functionality of Business ByDesign services. It has yet to match the depth or maturity of competitors such as Salesforce.com's AppExchange, however, it has the potential to exceed competitor offerings in terms of breadth and support for a much wider range of SaaS business applications.
  • SAP has created a database from the experiences of 4,000 clients which shares revealing processes, best practices and benchmarks. While most of these are attributable to SAP's Business Suite solution, many are applicable to Business ByDesign as well. SAP also has developed "SAP Ideas ByDesign," an online community and crowd sourcing destination where customers and partners contribute ideas and requests for improvements to Business ByDesign.

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SAP Weaknesses

  • Social CRM (SCRM) capabilities are largely weak or absent in Business ByDesign. This weakness may be mitigated over time by cross-pollinating the social strength of the Sales OnDemand product with ByDesign.
  • While broad suite solutions deliver efficiencies and one vendor accountability, they also pose risk of vendor lock-in.
  • Companies seeking industry specific and vertical market SaaS solutions may have to wait for the Business ByDesign ISV channel and ecosystem to take form and mature. This is a wait that may take months to years depending upon the particular vertical market. SAP does provide a few industry templates, but they are limited to reconfiguration and high level industry adaptation.
  • The customer service functionality is best aligned for help desk and light field service operations. High volume contact centers will likely find the service capabilities under-powered.
  • ByDesign has adopted Microsoft's Silverlight presentation layer for an improved user interface (UI). However, while the UI is satisfactory it doesn't incorporate the consumer-like technologies that deliver an inviting or stimulating user experience. SAP's use of Silverlight fails to take advantage of many of the technology's capabilities such as in-place animation, dynamic workspace configurations, favorites and more. Perhaps a subsequent version will more fully leverage this presentation technology. Or on the flip side, many believe Silverlight is an at-risk technology that may lose support from Microsoft for all but mobile platforms—as much of Silverlight's capabilities and purpose for being are now available in HTML5 and can be accomplished without a browser heavy plug-in.
  • Business ByDesign was built on the NetWeaver platform. While NetWeaver is an impressive framework, its future is uncertain. Further, some IT pros frown on the idea of having to learn yet another proprietary development environment in order to perform system integration, software customization and application extension development.

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