- Salesforce, the world’s biggest SaaS-vendor, will be the event partner for this year’s CeBIT, and thus no one (also in the very conservative German IT market) will be able to ignore how mature and feature-rich cloud solutions have become today.
- People forget quickly, so they will also soon forget what Edward Snowden revealed about what can happen to our data residing on cloud servers (or just being transferred via the internet).
- “The normative power of the factual”: all big software vendors, including SAP, shift their development efforts towards cloud solutions, most of their new solutions are pure cloud solutions (or at least also available in a SaaS-model) – so soon companies will have no choice anyway, it get’s the de-facto standard.
Some key points:
- Everything is built on services (UI is built on services also, there no integration of components on the database-level like in R/3 but on the service-level)
- SAP will not allow to run custom code in the hosted environment, but customers can run code on their own site, e.g. compose new applications based on the hosted services
- AJAX-functionality is not included in the UI for BBD at the moment, but it will come
- The basic foundation for BBD is ABAP (Objects), having “one implementation for each function”. The layers above are done with Java, based on (and partially automatically generated from) models.
- “Customizing” is done with a configurator, with a “question and answer and constraint engine”, not on the level of process models
- Linux is used as operating system for the hosted environment, and SAP’s own MaxDB as database
Today SAP officially announced it’s new on-demand Enterprise Software for small and mid-sized businesses called “Business ByDesign” (BBD), which was formerly known as “A1S”, in a press-conference in New York.
CEO Henning Kagermann called it “the most important announcement” of his career and described BBD as “breakthrough innovation”. In fact, the SaaS-market is completely new for SAP but probably very important for it’s future, and BBD is perhaps the most important product for SAP since R/3, which made the German software-vendor to the market-leader in business software in the 90’s. And the way BBD was designed and built is truly innovative. It is completely service-based (“SOA by design”, also the UI is based on services in contrast to ERP where the services are delivered additionally to the transactions), and it was built with the latest model-based development tools from SAP (Composition Environment).
An often heard (see also Nicholas Carr’s post) question/thought is whether BBD could threaten SAP’s own business. Larger companies running SAP’s rather expensive ERP or Business Suite could also think of using a cheap and easy to implement on-demand software, what by the way would also challenge a whole industry of consultants implementing and adapting SAP software for customers. But those larger businesses will probably always have the need for a wider adaption of their enterprise software than possible with BBD, and for SAP it’s still better to loose customers to themselves than to loose them to competitors…
The replay of the press-conference can be found here.