Business ByDesign's growth rate is outpacing the most successful product in SAP's history, the R/3 ERP platform, by a "significantly higher rate," according to Snabe. Germany is so far the strongest market for ByDesign, according to SAP.
Most of the initial customers are small to medium-size businesses, but there is no reason ByDesign could not serve a large enterprise, Snabe said. Most of the latter want a hybrid ERP model, Snabe said. SAP is trying to cater to that need with a series of on-demand extensions that will be built with ByDesign's underlying platform.
However, the "biggest immediate revenue opportunity" for SAP lies in its recently announced HANA in-memory analytic appliances, Snabe said. SAP is positioning the appliances as something SAP customers can use to analyze transactional data from their ERP systems, and is building a series of specialized applications that will run on top of HANA boxes.
HANA presents "extreme" value for customers, due to dramatically lower infrastructure costs compared to disk-based systems along with its high performance, Snabe said.
The systems will have to compete with products such as Oracle's Exadata machines, which have been in the market longer. Oracle also has a built-in foothold to SAP's customer base, since its core database is running underneath many SAP ERP implementations.
SAP expects that some customers will run both platforms, much like they have run both the company's NetWeaver middleware stack and IBM's WebSphere, McDermott said. "It's not a one or the other situation."
McDermott painted a similar picture of co-existence between SAP and Hewlett-Packard, which is now led by former SAP CEO Leo Apotheker. The executive is on record saying he wants to strengthen HP's hand in software, and is scheduled to deliver a presentation on his plans in March.
HP can't go it alone, McDermott said. "Every major high-tech company realizes they need the SAP platform to enable their hardware and services ambitions," he said.