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I have been to the past nine SAPPHIRE's and every year I felt it gets bigger, better and different. From its approach, to the hype, the unbelievable marketing, and presentation of the show. SAP never stops from experimenting, exploring and exciting with its new avenues. It was great to see SAP, as an old enterprise embracing and engaging the new age Social Media. That promising and encouraging. Mary Homlish was definitely not missed this year !

However this is the first year, I took an opportunity to take SAP's show from an outside-in perspective. I was particularly interested to learn about SAP's cloud, mobility and social strategy. Over the 2.5 days, attended sessions / panels on ByD & Mobility to learn about SAP's approach and their GTM strategy to address the growing SME marketplace.

Well here are some of my takeaways based on those conversations and observations from SAPPHIRENOW 2011. SAP Business ByDesign in particular.

For Enterprise Customers

  • The core and key message that was resonated by SAP loud (and long) was its innovation around in-memory computing.
  • The product that was heavily talked about by the executives at SAP was SAP In-Memory Appliance software (SAP HANA) which provides companies with a real-time view of key insights.
  • Sybase Unwired Platform and Mobility was another hot topic that trended across from a customer's perspective. SAP's has a big push to build 100 apps by end or 2011 by itself and with the help of its partners.
  • SAP and Amazon Web Services announced their partnership to Deliver Enterprise Solutions in the Cloud via Amazon Web Services. Lot of folks felt the details were sketchy !
  • Microsoft and SAP announced Windows Azure SDK for SAP NetWeaver Gateway to extend SAP Apps to their public and private cloud
  • Dell and SAP announced their cloud computing partnership. University of Kentucky is on Dell-SAP Cloud Platform pilot.

For SME Customers

  • SAP Co-CEO Jim Snabe announced SAP has signed up 500 Business ByDesign customers, halfway to its stated goal of 1,000 by the end of the year.
  • SAP promoted the Two-Tier ERP and cited Business ByDesign deployments at the subsidiaries of The Dow Chemical Company and Nokia. This is a 180 shift from SAP's take a few years ago to a Single Instance / Single ERP strategy. I will cover this topic in a separate post - with the pros and cons.
  • SAP Business ByDesign customers at SAPPHIRENOW - San Jose Sharks, Pinkberry, WL Plastics, The Dow Chemical, Nokia. Convincing case studies for the cloud.
  • SAP said on May 16 it signed a deal with China Telecom under which the Chinese phone company will sell the German software maker's on-demand Business ByDesign to small and medium-sized companies.

Business ByDesign / On-Demand Highlights

  • Was curious to find who was John Wookey's replacement and his/her vision for the On-Demand Platform.
  • SAP announced the launch of a Business ByDesign SAP App Store (But none publicly available yet)
  • Current Product Release 2.6 (Feb 2011)
    • Now supports Mexico and Australia
    • Support for 35 End-to-End Business Processes
  • Feature Pack 3.0 – functionality enhancements, new countries and ByDesign Studio enhancements (Target Q1/2012)
  • Announced SAP Business ByDesign as a "Platform-as-a-service"
  • Sales OnDemand as first LoB OnDemand Solution built on SAP ByD PaaS.
  • More LOB Solutions in the works.

Sure the On-Demand / On Mobile / On Premise with the technology orchestration vision looks promising and exciting. However, has SAP gained the pace to deliver this vision over its competition? That's a question yet to be answered. Sure there has been a lot of exciting announcements especially cloud and on-demand solutions. (@aneelb of Workday mocked SAP, as its delivering "announcement-as-a-service"). The customers sure are ready to trust the brand that has been around 30 years.

Cheers till next post !

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Vijay Nachimuthu

By Vijay Nachimuthu

Vijay Nachimuthu is a Managing Principal of AltaFlux. His blogs mainly focuses on latest cloud technology trends and its impact on enterprises.