Product Review: Inside SAP's Line-of-Business OnDemand Strategy

SAP's Sales OnDemand Strategy Reveals A Longer Term Product And Cloud Strategy
In an exclusive briefing on February 24th with SAP's Executive Vice President of Line Of Business Applications, John Wookey, he provided fresh insight into the new product design and Cloud philosophy at SAP.  This pre-CeBit announcement coincided with the SAP Analyst Day in Boston.  A few take-aways from the briefing reveal:

  • An investment in design thinking behind future Line-of-Business products. With consumer technologies entering the enterprise at a blistering pace, it's become obvious that today's enterprise apps only support a small percentage of the work people must accomplish on a daily basis.  SAP's Line Of Business apps team starts with a design thinking approach.  The initial objectives leverage SAP's rich history of process excellence, focus on people empowerment, and align with business objectives to achieve a clear purpose.etc.

    Point of View (POV):
    The software industry has taken note in how Design Schools around the world solve problems in user experience and adoption.  SAP's design thinking process reflects the classical 7 phases of define, research, ideation, prototype, objectives, implement, and learn.  Pairing a design thinking approach and agile development methodologies has led to an understanding of what tasks people need to get done and how to quickly create iterations.   The result - more intuitive user experiences and new product releases every 6 months.  More time is spent on upfront design not engineering.  If successful, Co-CEO Jim Hagemann Snabe will have shown how his focus on agile will pay off across the development organizations.

  • Solutions such as Sales On Demand (Sales OD) that empower people to be effective. From the beginning, the product begins with collaboration through the use of activity streams (i.e. Facebook, Twitter like user experience).  Team collaboration is enhanced with access to key content, analytics, and even competitor information (see Figure 1).  Design points focus on delivering the right content, to the right people, at the right time, on the right form factor.  Analytics provide self-service reports (see Figure 2).  Sales effectiveness concepts build around the 4Cs (i.e. the right context, right contacts, right content, and the right contract).

    Sales Force Automation (SFA) solutions in the past failed to address the needs of the Sales Professional and the customer.  As with most customer relationship management solutions, they covered the "M" in CRM and ignored the customer (C) and the relationship (R). SAP's Sales On Demand product is different as it addresses the key issues in helping sales professional receive relevant information and collaborate with their networks in an intuitive manner.  Users will be surprised that this is an SAP application. Despite only delivering 20% of the full SAP CRM suite Sales application capability, the 20% provided delivers 80% of the key capabilities to support sales person effectiveness.

Figure 1.  Activity Streams (Feeds) Deliver A Intuitive And Collaborative User Experience

(Source: SAP)

Figure 2.  Analytics Provide Sales Professionals With Relevant, Self-Service Insight

(Source: SAP)

  • A steady stream of break through solutions to come. Sales OD is the first of many solutions to enter the market.  Sourcing OnDemand has been available on the Frictionless platform for some time.  Career on Demand and Travel on demand will arrive in 2H 2011.   Other products on the list include Carbon Impact OnDemand, Business Intelligence OnDemand, and the top secret Project Columbus.  All products will be designed to support new form factors including blackberries and iPads (see Figure 3).

    Despite jettisoning the Frictionless Commerce platform, the new solutions build on SAP's Business ByDesign (ByD) platform.  In retrospect, the benefits include process, meta data, and data integration with the rest of the ByD suite.  Pre-packaged integration with the core NetWeaver stack and Business Suite 7 (BS7) will most likely show up in future releases.  For SAP shops, these new Line Of Business OnDemand apps may provide a credible alternative to today's best of breed SaaS players.

Figure 3. Product Design Accounts For Emerging And New Form Factors

(Source: SAP)
The Bottom Line:  SAP's New Approach Transforms More Than User Experience
Next generation applications address 10 key elements in order to capture the hearts and minds of users.  These elements focus on three areas: dynamic user experiences, business process focus, and community connectedness.  SAP's OD strategy seeks to address these 10 elements.  If successful, SAP could stem the losses from SAP customers seeking two-tier ERP and cloud strategies that surround the core SAP products.
However, SAP has some hard work ahead.  The first releases come with limited features.  Users will have to bet on SAP's ability to quickly iterate and add grow the product footprint.  In addition, for SAP to grow outside of its install base, these OD products must deliver good integration libraries that support hybrid clouds and mixed environments.  Despite being a late comer to the cloud religion, this new SaaS offensive could provide the catalyst and design point for future SAP successes.  Existing SAP customers should consider these OD solutions in head-to-head SaaS best of breed vendor selection short lists.

Your POV.
Will you make the move to SAP's OnDemand applications?  Are you an existing SAP customer looking at two-tier ERP? Will this keep you from looking at best of breed SaaS apps?  Add your comments to the blog or send us a comment at r (at) softwareinsider (dot) org or info (at) ConstellationRG (dot) com.
Let us know how we can assist with:

  • Building a Cloud Strategy
  • Designing your apps strategy
  • Addressing SAP new license and maintenance contract negotiations
  • Supporting a Two Tier ERP analysis

Related Links
20110302 ZDNet:SocialCRM: The Conversation -Paul Greenberg "SAP Sales OnDemand, Got It, Got It, Need It?
20110302 TechTarget/ – Barney Beal “SAP takes another shot at CRM on-demand”

20110301 – Linda Dobel “SAP Sales OnDemand Presents New Competition To Rivals”
20110301 IDG News Service – Chris Kanaracus “SAP Readies Rival”
20110301 IT World Canada – Jeff Jedras and Chris Kanaracus “SAP enterprise-class hosted CRM targets”
20110301 Information Week – Josh Greenbaum “SAP Plays Games With the Analysts”
20110302 Beagle Research – Denis Pombriant “SAP @CeBit and Sales OnDemand”

20110302 – Nick Heath “SAP Eyes Facebook and Apple for secrets of success.”

Related Resources
20100808 User Event: SAP Australian User Group Summit
20100802 Vendor Event: SAP Teched 2010 Las Vegas

20100518 Event Report: Sapphire 2010 Brings Customers Back To A New Sense Of Normalcy

20100512 News Analysis: SAP Bets On Innovation With $5.8B Sybase Acquisition

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