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SAP Business ByDesign ERP Software Review

 

An Independent Enterprise Resource Planning Software Review

Finance and Accounting Software

Many of the accounting software features found in SAP's Business One and Business All-in-One on-premise ERP applications have been carried over to the SaaS ERP product. Key accounting software strengths include multiple-entity, multi-ledgers capability. Many SaaS ERP systems have a difficult time performing these capabilities correctly. Organizations running a two-tier ERP strategy will find that ByDesign handles parallel general ledgers, multiple period closings, and overlapping closings well.

Features in the accounting and financials modules, such as accounts payable and accounts receivable, fixed assets, and other sub-ledgers, are integrated into a comprehensive general ledger. Management accounting tools for contract, project, product, profit center, profitability, and cost center accounting, and comprehensive valuation, reconciliation, closing automation, and reporting tools, including master data governance and invoice to pay life cycles, are all supported. Treasury and financial risk management are also included within the accounting portion of the solution.

Some of the weaknesses from the on-premise ERP applications have trickled down to the SaaS version: difficulty in configuring flexible procurement approvals; lack of credit card processing capabilities and localized accounting and taxation functionality; difficulty in setting up and configuring syncing and input of incoming invoices, light localization for taxes, supplier on-boarding, and net partners; lack of detail in travel expense management, sales tax, audit risk, acceptance of credit cards, paybacks and chargebacks, EDI support from an accounting aspect, broad but not deep project accounting, investment management, labour costing, matching cost of goods sold and financial statement report writing. In short, extensive configuration and work-arounds are often required for these functionalities.

Distribution & Supply Chain Management Software

Supply chain management is one of the four business suite solutions customers can procure through the ByDesign platform as a stand-alone SaaS solution.

The supply chain software includes transportation, supplier relationship management, extended warehouse management (EWM), and supplier network collaboration. This combination of supply chain functionality can be sold as a distribution- and supply chain-specific point solution, without the rest of the ERP software suite. The EWM module has seen extensive improvements over the original version and is adequate for most SMB organizations that require warehouse management functionalities. For organizations where the warehouse management features might not suffice, the option of staying with a SaaS WMS is likely available from a third party, as many of these exist in the WMS market. This may prove a nice complement to organizations that are distribution and third-party logistics (3PL) based. Even with two different monthly subscriptions, costs may still be less than for two on-premise systems, as there is no initial capital investment per se.

A few areas that need some fortification are automated data collection and inventory optimization that allows customers to manage demand uncertainty. There is not much in terms of real-time supply chain analytics, and capacity planning functionalities are light. Lack of e-commerce is another noticeable deficiency. Since web commerce is lacking, the accounting functionality for this operation is tricky to configure unless an add-on solution is used to accommodate new supply chain functionality.

Manufacturing Software

Manufacturing software categories include quality management, manufacturing performance management, lean planning and operations, manufacturing collaboration, product development and manufacturing, enterprise asset management, and batch/process manufacturing.

Since ByDesign is still a relatively new SaaS ERP solution, many of its competitors are well ahead in such areas as depth of lean manufacturing capabilities, rough cut planning, multi-plant capacity planning, manufacturing execution systems (MES) functionalities for shop floor data collection, overall equipment effectiveness, make-to-order (MTO), and engineer-to-order (ETO). The solution also lacks manufacturing project management functionalities.

Because partner certifications for ByDesign are limited, industry-specific packages are few. However, partners are beginning to develop one-off solutions that pertain to individual customer requirements and ultimately industry specific versions will become available. As more partners become certified for ByDesign, we expect to see more software customizations make it to the SAP cloud app store.

Payroll & Human Resources Software

Similar to SAP on-premise systems, human capital management (HCM) and payroll functions include payroll automation, core HR, talent management, HR service delivery, strategic workforce planning, workforce analytics, payroll, workforce deployment, employee file management, organizational visualization, and HR outsourcing.

At this point, Business ByDesign HR software tends to be very broad. Areas of HR software deficiency include e-learning (with employee self service and mobile learning capabilities), mobile employee management, mobile time sheet management, and workforce management. While some of these functions do exist within the software, many are particularly light and organizations are likely to find them inadequate.

A ByDesign add-on specifically designed to bolt onto the SaaS product is PeopleOne. This HR solution's functions include Enterprise Portal and links to finance, procurement, project management costing, timesheet management, expense management, payroll administration and links to third party payroll providers. Facilitation of electronic files between payroll providers and partners is also a feature offered by PeopleOne. As the Business ByDesign partner and ISV channel grows, we expect to see more integrated third party HR solutions in the online SAP Store.

Customer Relationship Management Software

Business ByDesign CRM is often a starting point for SAP's cloud customers. CRM provides a relatively simple gateway for first time cloud adopters who can then add other SAP SaaS functions over time.

With the release of the latest enhancement pack, the CRM functionality has seen an increase in capabilities. Some advanced features are offered as base functionality, but the primary features revolve around account/contact/opportunity/task management. Advanced features, such as marketing automation, campaign management, lead management, service monitoring, and deep analytic functionality, are more limited but now at least loosely embedded into the CRM application.

While SFA capabilities are comparable to most competitor SaaS CRM solutions, SAP leverages its back office integration to enhance sales functions that cannot be matched by CRM-only competitors. Sales people can create quotes, verify customer credit limits, check product availability, process sales orders, suggest up-selling and cross-selling opportunities and review outstanding customer invoices. Clearly having visibility to more customer information such as terms, credit utilization, product purchase history, receivables and sales information delivers a more comprehensive customer view to the sales person.

Marketing is broadly divided into the two functions of market development and campaign management, and in reality most marketing utilization is around campaigns. Marketing provides adequate campaign profiling and measurement, but lacks more advanced lead management and automation capabilities.

Customer service includes customer care, field service and entitlement management. Customer care is primarily a case management function with simple incident assignments, basic escalation rules and limited knowledge management. Field service is more unique among SaaS ERP solutions and automates service and repair tracking, spare parts handling and customer confirmations. This is another CRM function made stronger by tight back office integration, however, until it includes technician dispatch and at least some level of workforce management, it is limited to simple field service shops. Entitlement management is another somewhat unique capability and quite useful for inventory carrying organizations, especially those will serial and lot tracking, product registration, warranty management or service level agreements.

If Business ByDesign CRM is compared to SaaS CRM point solution competitors its likely not to fare well in areas such as social CRM, mobile CRM, Partner Relationship Management (PRM) and the user experience. However, in areas where ByDesign CRM taps into its ERP software components, such as quotes and sale order processing, or entitlement capabilities, it finds relatively unique ground and becomes much more competitive.

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