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SAP Business ByDesign ERP Review

 

Additional ERP Capabilities

Enterprise 2.0 & Social Capabilities

Traditionally SAP has been weak in collaboration for both internal and external sharing, and Business ByDesign is no exception. Although many extensions were built for the on-premise versions that allow the sharing of files externally with trading partners and suppliers, these additions are not yet available with ByDesign. A social collaboration feature is still lacking in the base functionality. Social CRM tools—such as social monitors, sentiment analysis, social network integration, micro-blogging networks, social contact profile data append services, online communities and peer to peer networks—are similarly absent.

SAP's Sales OnDemand product is at this time the company's only social product. Unfortunately, it only integrates with SAP ERP, and is not available with packaged integration to Business ByDesign.

To partially compensate for the lack of social and collaborative components, SAP has introduced StreamWork. StreamWork is an online environment that fosters collaboration with notifications and action items somewhat similar to an internal network such as Salesforce.com's Chatter. This tool can upload documents as well as share and capture knowledge that might otherwise be difficult to capture in non-collaborative environments. It integrates to email, WebEx, and Evernote. StreamWork also extends the collaborative environment to mobile devices such as BlackBerry, iPhone, and iPad. The software is available in three editions—Basic, Professional, and Enterprise—and is priced as a SaaS solution.

As ByDesign gains more partner support, extensions that can add Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social network and social media integration may become available.

Reporting and Analytics Capabilities

Users can access role-based dashboards, graphical information embedded in transaction screens, and ad hoc reporting options through SAP Crystal Reports and Microsoft Excel, with drilldown and bottom-up/roll-up functionality to granular ERP and CRM objects such as SKU levels.

A Corporate Performance dashboard displays flexible analytics with one click access to dynamic report lists. Subsequent drill-down analysis as well as mixing variables and applying filters permits deeper investigation.

With ByDesign's project management module available from the PSA version, reporting for project-related tasks, resource scheduling, time management, and expenses is far more manageable, as developing these in past on-premise ERP products was difficult. The dashboards and user-configurable interface simplifies the use of custom programming. The reporting functionality extends to every module within the application.

The inclusion of Business Objects (BOBJ) has vastly improved the analytic capabilities of SAP and its ability to provide enterprise performance management. Business Objects/BOBJ has been included into the latest version and adds business intelligence (BI) functionality and begins to leverage HANA technology, extending real-time visibility and permitting data integration and modeling. HANA is the SAP in-memory database application, which speeds up data querying by residing in computer memory as opposed to hard disk transfer and storage. SAP suggests that by end of 2012, Business ByDesign will use the HANA in-memory columnar database for accelerated and improved business intelligence delivery.

International Capabilities

Business ByDesign supports multiple currencies, multiple taxing methods (i.e. VAT, GST and North American sales tax), multiple languages and is localized and available for purchase in the following countries: Australia, Austria, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States. With future Service Pack releases, additional countries will be supported. All supported countries are hosted from SAP data centers in either Germany or the U.S.

Professional Service Automation

While not necessarily a vertically focused ERP system, Business ByDesign has particularly strong fit for professional services companies. ByDesign supports two way integration with Microsoft Project, permits project type designation (i.e. fixed fee or time & billing), flexible revenue recognition, simple time entry via browsers and mobile devices, the ability to designate skills and competencies as well as acquire and allocate sub-contractor services, and covers the reporting basics with actual, budget, variance and profit reports by project. Some advanced PSA functions such as flexible rules for approving time entry, delivering intelligent alerts when consultants haven't submitted their time (or submitted it incorrectly), measuring WIP and variable-based project allocations are not available.

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SAP Business ByDesign Review

 

 

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