There have been whispers about SAP’s new ERP on-demand offering for quite some time, but precious little official information was available. Now the cat is out of the bag… Almost.
SAP CEO Henning Kagermann and the top execs all mentioned it in their speeches and interviews at Sapphire 2007, but the product is still largely an unknown. AMR Research and others have nailed down some basic facts:
- It targets the 50-500 user crowd.
- It is based on the NetWeaver platform, adhering to the SOA by Design mantra.
- It shares services repository with the Business Suite.
- It has a set of unique application process components for common business tasks such as order entry and invoicing.
So far so good. But why the sudden change to an on-demand model, especially in light of the luke-warm reception of last year’s CRM on-demand? And what’s the deal with the “try before you buy” feature Hasso Plattner and others were talking about? We asked Jeff Stiles, senior vice president of Solution Marketing at SAP to clarify three basic questions:
1. Why hosted? Did people ask for this, or is there a bigger strategic vision behind this move?
The new solution [...] will be targeted to serve customers who have not traditionally been buyers of enterprise suites. One key barrier for these midsize companies has been the lack of or limited number of IT staff to implement, configure and manage enterprise applications. Customers with this profile have clearly told us that an on-demand delivery model will serve them well.
2. Is SAP planning to make more products available with this model?
SAP, along with our partners, provide a number of products that feature various hosting options, including traditional hosting, on-demand and outsourcing. We offer a broad range of on-demand offerings today, including CRM and SRM. We see on-demand as one viable and important delivery topology along with traditional on-premise approaches, and we intend to continue making the right products available with this as a deployment option.
3. How extensive is the “try before you buy” feature going to be?
We’re working actively with early customers to understand exactly what they’re looking for in determining the scope of evaluating “A1S” as well as how to best enable them to do so. We expect to offer a fully functional system configured to individual customer needs for their evaluation. Customers have also told us that it is very important for them to then be able to move that system into production once they’ve seen it, tried it, and bought it.