Some potential for customer overlap exists between Business ByDesign and Business One OnDemand. But one differentiator lies in the deeper array of industry-specific functions built by partners for the latter application, which has been in the market much longer.
SAP has passed the 1,000 customer mark with Business ByDesign, which is now available in 11 countries, with five more planned for this year, co-CEO Jim Hagemann Snabe said during a press conference at Cebit on Tuesday, which was webcast.
He downplayed the suggestion that ByDesign sales have been slow. SAP had to rework the underlying platform for ByDesign to gain needed efficiencies, before it could go for higher-volume sales, he said. "We are where we want it to be."
ByDesign's sales are picking up even better than SAP's hugely sucessful on-premises systems have been at times, according to Snabe. "We're at double the pace R/3 was in 1992," he said, referring to the earlier version of SAP's core ERP suite.
SAP has no plans to offer ByDesign in on-premises form, but is talking with some large customers about ways they can manage the system alongside SAP, according to Snabe.
Also Tuesday, SAP announced versions of its Sourcing OnDemand and Sales OnDemand applications.
Those releases are among a series of products aimed at large enterprises, which have invested heavily in on-premises SAP systems but could be enticed to buy specialized applications delivered from the cloud.
However, SAP recently decided that organic development wasn't enough to become relevant in the SaaS (software as a service) market, and paid $3.4 billion to acquire SuccessFactors, which sells a variety of human resources-related applications. The company's CEO, Lars Dalgaard, is continuing to run that business as an independent SAP subsidiary and has also been tapped to lead SAP's broader cloud strategy.
One of Dalgaard's tasks will be to convince the more conservative members of SAP's ample customer base that SaaS is safe and secure.
"We think you can have better privacy in the cloud," Dalgaard said in response to a question at the press conference. "A company like SAP can invest more in security than any single company can. We pour all of the resources into one code base."
Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris's email address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com