The first cloud ERP from SAP has been on the market for ten years. However, SAP Business ByDesign is (still) relatively unknown, but the subject of many myths. The most common – poorly founded – prejudices about the SME solution, which has already been implemented around 4,000 times.

1. SAP Business ByDesign no longer exists

SAP brought SAP Business ByDesign and with it its first cloud ERP ten years ago to a market that was “in a very early stage”, as Rainer Zinow from SAP admits. The first cloud applications for business processes were just emerging, and security concerns still dominated the discussion. Some customers got the impression that SAP might withdraw the product. The Computerwoche even rumored an “uncertain future of SAP Business ByDesign”. “However, we have used the last ten years to complete the application and perfect the cloud services,” says Zinow, who is responsible for product management at SAP Business ByDesign worldwide, “the market has been picking up noticeably since 2015.” The advantages of the ERP in the cloud are now reaching the customers. The product has now been implemented 4,000 times.

2. Software from the public cloud is rigid and inflexible

Medium-sized companies that use traditional ERP systems often received the software’s source code. Those who modified it individually had their tailor-made software, but created problems with upcoming upgrades. It’s different with SAP Business ByDesign: Although every customer works with the same source code, every company adapts “its” solution individually – creates its own reports, extends the user interface, creates company-specific interfaces or its own logic. Companies that want to determine the likelihood of new contracts being concluded can add this functionality as a service that they have developed themselves.

3. Cloud ERP can only be used in a few countries

SAP Business ByDesign is made for companies that want to map their processes without extensive IT know-how and want to do without their own IT operations. The processes in CRM, marketing and accounting are standardized accordingly. For example, SAP Business ByDesign has the appropriate country versions for those 19 countries that together generate more than 80 percent of the global gross national product. For companies that use SAP Business ByDesign in other countries, there are specialized SAP partners who integrate the relevant regulations. Today, SAP Business ByDesign is used in 128 countries.

4. In the medium term, SAP Business ByDesign is only an intermediate step to SAP S / 4HANA Cloud

SAP Business ByDesign is specially made for medium-sized companies. It consists of an adapted business process core, a constantly updated software version and can be implemented in an average of 80 days. Globally active companies place higher demands on their software, for example with regard to global risk and compliance management. The SAP S / 4HANA Cloud is also better suited for very complex processes such as recipe management in the pharmaceutical industry or joint venture accounting, for example in the oil industry. There is no such thing as “one size fits all” in the world of business processes: For these reasons, SAP offers its customers a portfolio of solutions: SAP S / 4HANA Cloud for larger companies, SAP Business ByDesign for medium-sized companies (up to 1,500 employees) and SAP Business One for smaller businesses.

5. Either I use all functions or none

If you want to use SAP Business ByDesign, you first start with a configuration process: The first step is to select the countries in which the branches are to be operated. In the second step, there is the option of choosing those ERP processes that are required in the company – for example for marketing, sales or service. Individual campaign management or customer acquisition processes can then be included in more depth. There is therefore the option of initially only using customer relationship management, personnel management or marketing and gradually adding additional departments as required.

6. SAP Business ByDesign is not suitable in a corporate environment

It always depends on the individual IT strategy of a company whether SAP Business ByDesign also makes sense in a corporate environment. For subsidiaries of a group that run their own business, joint ventures that do not deal with their own IT infrastructure, or groups that want to divest a company division, SAP Business ByDesign can be the right solution for the implementation effort of a modern ERP as well as the To keep costs low. SAP Business ByDesign is already operational within an average of 80 days. However, it is often desired that the same data and process model be used in the headquarters and at the subsidiaries: Then SAP S / 4HANA Cloud is the better choice.

7. If everyone uses SAP ERP in the cloud, nobody has a competitive advantage any more

It is true that every user of a public cloud uses the same coding, so the basis is the same. The decisive question, however, is how the software was introduced and how well the processes were mapped in it. Because only through the individual characteristics of the software do its strengths become apparent. For example, if you attach particular importance to adapting prices very flexibly and see your competitive advantage in this, you will be able to implement this in SAP Business ByDesign. The focus of implementation is different for every company.

8. SAP Business ByDesign does not map production and logistics

Most companies start in the cloud with relatively uncritical processes such as CRM, a mail application or applicant management. But while the cloud market was still dominated by security concerns at the start of SAP Business ByDesign ten years ago, customers today expect the entire spectrum of an ERP from the cloud. This also includes manufacturing processes. In the first version of SAP Business ByDesign in 2007, goods and financial flows were already integrated in SAP Business ByDesign. Component production, warehouse management and accounting were already linked and potentially operational. The logistics core was already in place. “Most companies have been convinced of cloud computing since around 2015,” says SAP expert Zinow. After customer relationship management, purchasing, human resources and accounting, inventory management and manufacturing processes are now on the wish list. Many of the processes that a component manufacturer needs are now included in SAP Business ByDesign. Further processes such as subcontracting will follow.

9. SAP Business ByDesign is a closed system

The ERP medium-sized business software from the cloud is an open platform that allows the software to be further developed by SAP partners (see also 3.). It also enables the integration of various other cloud applications from the SAP portfolio for travel management (Concur), procurement (SAP Ariba) and personnel management (SAP SuccessFactors). This also applies to non-SAP cloud services. From a technical point of view, every SAP Business ByDesign function can be accessed from “outside” via so-called web services. In return, SAP Business ByDesign can also integrate web services from other applications and providers.

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