Yesterday’s Q2 financial report from SAP specifically mentions the expansion it made in the volume business as well as the progress in the small and midsized enterprise (SME) segment:
… said Jim Hagemann Snabe, Co-CEO of SAP. “Our success in the SME segment creates a strong foundation for the new version of our on-demand platform SAP Business ByDesign. The new version will be available on time on July 31st and is ready for volume deployment in six countries.”
The company provided a quite interesting video as well: SAP Business ByDesign Goes Mobile [July 26]. “Get an exclusive first look at the latest SAP Business ByDesign software, running on mobile devices such as iPad, iPhone, and BlackBerry. The software will be available in 2011.” There is also a related blog-entry from SAP TV: Exclusive: See what’s coming 2011 – Behind the scenes with a SAP developer [July 27]
In a later video interview given to CNBC (see SAP CEO on Earnings [July 27]) Bill McDermott, Co-CEO of SAP, was describing his company’s outlook as follows:
[2:30] Others have consolidated legacy markets to downsize companies and leverage margin. In the short-term that’s a viable shareholder strategy, no question about it. We believe in organic growth, we believe that customers will run their business with on-premise enterprise applications, they’ll run them on-demand in the cloud, using in-memory technology with real-time analytics, and they’ll run their business on-device.
[3:00] The vision that we have is to connect the virtual boardroom to the shopfloor worker, so on an end-to-end process basis companies are run better, and they are actually managed by exception. So all these knowledge workers that are interned to the desktop can actually make decisions in real-time. So Sybase got us into a new category which is the mobile. I believe to be the new desktop. If you look at markets like China, as an example, three quarters of their knowledge workers have bypassed the desktop and gone right to the mobile.
[3:31] So we are all about innovation. We will let others have their short-term games on the margin. We think customers will appreciate that in the long run, and shareholders too. [3:41]
Mobility has indeed been the major reason why SAP has recently acquired Sybase for approximately $5.8 billion. Other reasons were being very strong in analytics and certainly its traditional database business. See: SAP to acquire Sybase Inc. [May 12]
Strategic Move to Accelerate the Reach of SAP® Solutions across Mobile Platforms, Help Companies Manage and Analyze Business Information and Processes on Any Device
… SAP will accelerate the reach of its solutions across mobile platforms and drive forward the realization of its in-memory computing vision. … For Sybase, SAP in-memory technology will provide the opportunity for dramatic performance improvements to its analytic processing capabilities. Sybase will also be able to bring its complex event processing and analytics expertise, which was built in the financial sector, to customers in other industries, markets and product areas …
“Mobile devices are becoming the preferred interaction point with business applications, whether the user is a factory supervisor, a retail manager or an entrepreneur in a developing nation,” said Jim Hagemann Snabe, co-CEO of SAP and member of the SAP Executive Board. “The combination of SAP and Sybase will give users the option of running their operations from leading mobile devices … In addition, innovation around Sybase’s established database business will pave the way for ‘real’ real-time analytics and finally remove the decade-old barrier between business applications and business intelligence.”
… John Chen, CEO of Sybase, Inc. “… by combining the market leader in enterprise applications with the market leader in enterprise mobility, companies around the world will be able to run their business from many devices. This will drive a new wave of enterprise productivity. … ”
As a new, to be operating as a separate subsidiary of SAP, Sybase has announced a much strengthened mobility offering almost immediately. See: Sybase Introduces Industry’s First Mobility Platform Empowering Enterprises to Better Enable Employees and Engage Customers in New and Innovative Mobile Ways [May 20]
The Sybase Mobility Platform is comprised of the most comprehensive new and industry-proven solutions, including:
- Sybase Mobile Servers including Sybase Unwired Platform (SUP) development, Sybase® Afaria® Device Management Suite, Sybase iAnywhere® Mobile Office and SQL Anywhere®;
- Mobile Applications, including Sybase Mobile Sales for SAP CRM, Sybase Mobile Workflow for SAP Business Suite and Sybase mBanking 365®; and
- Sybase Mobile Services – mCommerce Services : for both developed and emerging markets, Enterprise Services: flexible, high-performance applications and services for mobile marketing and mobile CRM, Operator Services: including unrivalled global reach to 900 mobile operators.
Sybase® Mobile Sales for SAP CRM and Sybase® Mobile Workflow for SAP Business Suite have also earned Sybase an SAP award in the “Technology Innovator of the Year” category. See: Sybase Awarded 2010 SAP® Pinnacle Award [May 20]. These applications, by the way, have been jointly announced well before the acquisition. See: SAP and Sybase Deliver First Set of Applications to Millions of Mobile Workers Worldwide [March 2]
… The population of mobile workers and the number of personally owned devices entering the enterprise is growing exponentially. According to industry analyst group IDC, “The worldwide mobile worker population is set to increase from 919.4 million in 2008, accounting for 29% of the worldwide workforce, to 1.19 billion in 2013, accounting for 34.9% of the workforce.” …
- Sybase® Mobile Sales for SAP CRM automates sales processes, increases productivity and enhances customer service by equipping sales professionals with anywhere, anytime access to SAP CRM 2007 through smartphones such as iPhones and Windows Mobile devices.
- Sybase® Mobile Workflow for SAP Business Suite enables mobile workers to complete business processes — such as workflow items and alerts, time recording and travel requests that require immediate action — through a familiar and secure email inbox.
CNBC’s earlier Why Sybase? [May 17] interview with Bill McDermott has given more insight on whether the mobilization of business is to propel [this] M&A:
[1:31] The main reason for acquiring Sybase was one, mobility. They are the #1 mobile infrastructure company in the world. We want to move our applications to mobile devices. #2 – they are very strong in analytics. So we were already #1 in the world in analytics, and they approach industries such as financial services and public services. And they are growing very fast, and in quick markets like China, where China has bypassed the PC generation and gone right to the mobile. The 3d reason is the database where they have a very strong core business. We believe that in-memory computing combined with their core business will give the customer just an at-a-site-solution that currently does not exist on the market from any vendor. So for all three reasons we felt this was a breakthrough to have that asset. [2:18]
[2:32] We believe very heavily that our strategy was reliant on mobility. … We participate now in a 10 billion market. We wanted to be in a 220 billion market, and to do that you had to get in-memory, you had to get mobile, and you had to get on-demand. Sybase itself touches all three priorities. [2:53]
Note: One can put here indeed press releases that prove Sybase strengths in the #1 and #2 areas. For simplicity I am just giving here the ones that are also related to the China market:
- Sybase Mobile and Data Management Solutions Honored at Annual China IT Users Conference [Dec 18, 2006]
China IT User Community Selects Sybase’s ASE, SQL Anywhere and Business Intelligence Solutions for Four Top Awards
- Sybase Solidifies Leadership in China’s Financial Market with US$5 million Agricultural Bank of China Deployment [July 30, 2007]
Sybase IQ Analytics Server Chosen to Support a Leading Chinese Commercial Bank’s Nationwide Information System
- Sybase IQ Analytics Server Powers Major Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company in China [July 30, 2007]
Sybase Appointed as Sole Analytics Infrastructure Provider for One of China’s Largest Business Intelligence Projects
Back to the Business ByDesign SaaS! The new customer-centric innovations in the Business ByDesign solution have already been announced and demonstrated at SAPPHIRE® NOW event this year. See: New Release of SAP® Business ByDesign™ Gives Customers In-Memory Analytics, Support for Mobile Devices, and Customizable User Interfaces [May 17]. Of the new attractions mentioned in this headline one needs to mention the incorporation of Microsoft Silverlight technology into the front end. The rest is quite well understandable from the things detailed above.
One innovation mentioned just in the internal text of the press release, however, needs to be mentioned as a key attraction as well:
Single and multi-tenancy support. Customers can now choose either single or multi-tenant topologies as the solution is fully enabled to support both. Other than traditional on-demand offerings, SAP’s multi tenancy concept has been engineered for customer and partner specific business extensions, business configuration and all kind of UI, report and forms flexibility. It leverages SAP’s proven life cycle management system protecting all changes during upgrades. During the planning and engineering phases towards multi-tenancy, SAP collaborated with Intel to create an infrastructure optimized for the massively scalable ‘cloud computing’ environment of SAP Business ByDesign. The Intel® Xeon® Processor is the reference platform for SAP Business ByDesign deployments. The scalability and efficiency of Intel Xeon processors with the Next-Generation Intel® Microarchitecture will enable SAP to achieve even lower TCO for the solution’s infrastructure by delivering equal business capability with a smaller server and carbon footprint, significantly lowering energy consumption compared to previous generation processors.
The reason for full inclusion of that part is quite simple. That single functionality has been missing from this SaaS product and that was one of the major reason why SAP has not been able to enter the SaaS market in a big way so far. Another one has been the clash of its old and new (i.e. on-demand) business models. Here is some earlier information on that:
“What we did discover in the last five or six months is that while we made progress on our TCO model we’re not where we wanted to be (a 10 times TCO reduction),” says Apotheker, in a meeting with a group of Enterprise Irregulars Monday at SAP’s Sapphire conference in Orlando.
- Those Enterprise Irregulars, however, have still a“wait and see” attitude because of the quite chequered history of the product. See: The Return of Business ByDesign and the Future of the On-Demand ERP Market [July 23]
… The rumor mill has been most unkind of late: Rumors have been flying that ByD is going to miss its latest release date, that its marketing plans are DOA, and that SAP is on the verge of laying an egg of colossal size and impact.
The rancor surrounding the July 31 release date of the new ByD reflects a complex history inside SAP and the on-demand market that has clouded a lot of otherwise objective analysis about its prospects, and how important ByD’s success is not just for SAP and its customers, but for the on-demand market as a whole. …
… The other point worth addressing about ByD is that its initial entrance to the market in 2007 came in the midst of a not-so-private battle between ByD’s main advocate, Peter Zencke, and fellow board member Shai Agassi, who wanted the concepts of ByD – model-driven, on-demand ERP – to be embodied in the main SAP suite instead of in a completely new, mid-market product. That battle at the top eventually led to Shai’s departure – Zencke left shortly thereafter – but it left a bad taste in many SAPers’ mouths for the product. The fact that it failed to be economically viable as an on-demand product in its initial release further fueled the ire of its detractors. …
… This internal “polemic”, to be polite about it, reminds me of what Microsoft has been going through in the years since Ray Ozzie first discussed Software + Services as the new direction for Microsoft. Even an outsider can imagine the screaming inside Microsoft about such a radical shift and what it would mean to the king of the desktops. The fact that Steve Ballmer felt compelled three years later to give his now-famous “We’re All In” speech is testimony to how hard it’s been internally for Microsoft to grapple with this paradigm shift. …
… SAP is facing a similar dilemma with ByD. Everything about it – on-demand but not true multi-tenant, requires a major channel that doesn’t exist yet, the potential for cannibalization of other products, the sordid release history, the bad blood inside SAP – means that SAP has a similar requirement to make sure that everyone is walking the walk and talking the talk.
With so much at stake, it’s clear that ByD will be one of the great inflection points in the history of enterprise software, and in many ways its success or failure will define the future of on-demand enterprise software for some time. ByD isn’t just a gamble that SAP can create a product like ByD, it’s also a gamble that there is actually a market out there for what ByD represents. This fact is hardly a given: NetSuite’s struggles to meet its market potential has given many proponents of on-demand ERP pause, as has Workday’s slow slow progress towards a critical mass of customers. …
… If SAP can pull off ByD, that success will create a huge opportunity for others, including NetSuite, by legitimizing a market that to date doesn’t really exist as a billion-plus dollar opportunity. If SAP fails, I fear that this much-needed capability will languish on the sidelines another four or five years, and customers will be all the poorer, literally and figuratively, for that failure.
So, baring some unforeseen glitch, ByD re-enters the market in one short week. Its success or failure will hinge on a number of factors, most important of which will be the SDK that comes out at the end of the year. This is going to be one of the most closely watched software rollouts in a long time, with its repercussions felt across the industry for years to come.
So the relaunch of SAP’s Business ByDesign product should be watched quite carefully on July 31!