Earlier this month, Reuters cited a news source claiming that SAP will cease development of new functions for SAP Business ByDesign – its cloud ERP software product for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SME) – beginning the second quarter of 2023.
If you’re using or considering SAP Business ByDesign, you may wonder whether the product will remain viable in the long term.
At this point, no one really knows. Maybe except for some key people in SAP.
However, let's run through what is publicly known about the current status of SAP Business ByDesign:
Is The Writing On The Wall For SAP Business ByDesign?
SAP Business ByDesign is a Cloud based solution, tailored for 50 - 500 user range; Source: Howlett
If you’ve been keeping up with ERP developments, you might’ve noticed how SAP Business ByDesign faced several 'false starts' since its launch back in 2007.
The product had its development halted before by SAP SE; this happened in 2013, and even when it was revived shortly after in 2014, there were rumours swirling that Business ByDesign had not been considered part of SAP’s core development strategy for some time.
This time, it seems SAP will stop developing new functions for Business ByDesign from the second quarter of 2023 onwards. Instead, any new functions for the cloud ERP software will now be built for the SAP Business Technology Platform (BTP), before being made accessible via an interface.
In addition, SAP will also outsource most of the services related to Business ByDesign to HCL Technologies in India.
So is that good or bad news?
At this point of writing, news sites like Reuters, Nasdaq, CNA etc. have all based their coverage from a single article in a German daily called Handelsblatt.
Critics of the software believe it's just another nail in the coffin for ByDesign, while supporters think it might've been a misunderstanding by the reporter that's been overblown.
Below's a summary of what is publicly known:
1. Ongoing Security and Compliance
First, SAP will continue to release updates for ByDesign that improve security or keep it compliant with legal requirements.
This should reassure companies using SAP Business ByDesign that there should be no security issues using the software for now, nor risk falling afoul of changing regulations.
2. Recognised Product Capabilities
Despite the start-stop-start history of the product, Business ByDesign had earned some recognition along the way.
The cloud ERP software made its way onto Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Cloud Core Financial Management in 2021, and was categorised as a “Niche Player”.
3. SAP Business Technology Platform (SAP BTP)
As mentioned earlier, it seems new functions for Business ByDesign will be available via SAP BTP come Q2 2023.
So what is SAP BTP?
Briefly, SAP BTP is the successor of SAP Cloud Platform (a PaaS). It largely serves as the open platform and digital foundation for all applications in the SAP ecosystem.
Companies using SAP products can pursue new innovations and developments via BTP, by taking advantage of its active developer community and open source technologies.
How ByDesign's updates will be exactly deployed via BTP remains unclear at this point. However, one report suggests that new functions will be available for various SAP products (not just Business ByDesign), which implies ByDesign may not receive improvements specifically designed for it.
4. Outsourcing SAP ByDesign Services to HCL
With most related services for Business ByDesign outsourced to a third party, it raises questions about control and direction for the cloud ERP software in the long run.
Having said that, HCL Technologies is one of India's big four services giants, and has been a global strategic partner for SAP for over 18+ years in blockchain, Leonardo, and S/4HANA Cloud - another SAP cloud ERP product.
They're also the first global strategic SAP partner adopting the 'RISE with SAP offering' in the Asia Pacific Japan region.
This might give customers using ByDesign some assurance in terms of capabilities managing the software.
Should You Buy SAP Business ByDesign?
If you’re already using SAP Business ByDesign, hold on for a bit.
Since coverage had stemmed from just one article in a daily, there's a possibility the news had been misconstrued and blown out of proportion.
First get clarification from your vendor or SAP themselves on what this new development actually means for your business.
After all, ByDesign is still a functional solution at present. Why expend time and money transitioning to another ERP software if what you have have works well for your business?
But if you're not using Business ByDesign, there are many cloud ERP alternatives to SAP ByDesign that are just as good, or even better than ByDesign.
It May Be Time To Make The Switch To Oracle - NetSuite ERP
Introductory Overview Of NetSuite ERP; Source: NetSuite
Since a successful ERP software implementation is key for your business's long-term success, you'd want to invest in a solution with more consistency, and without a cloud hanging over it (pun unintended).
Take Oracle - NetSuite ERP as an example. One of SAP Business ByDesign's competitors, the NetSuite is best known as world's #1 cloud ERP software system.
Here are some of the reasons you should seriously consider it as an alternative:
1. NetSuite Is A Mature, Stable Platform For Long-term Growth
NetSuite, even before its acquisition by Oracle, was the first cloud software company in the world when it was founded in 1998, even before the emergence of Salesforce.com.
What this means is that Oracle NetSuite is the first true cloud ERP software ever in the market. And as a strategic product for Oracle, NetSuite is still growing strong; it’s currently the most deployed cloud ERP software in the world, with more than 33,000 customers across 200+ countries.
What this means is that if you need a mature product that isn’t going away anytime soon, to serve as a stable platform for the continued success and growth of your business, you can’t get better than Oracle NetSuite.
On the other hand, SAP Business ByDesign may be facing its third interruption in its shorter and already inconsistent history. As a cloud ERP software, it remains to be seen whether it can support your business success in the long term.
2. NetSuite Is Independently Recognised As A Leader In The Cloud ERP Market
Oracle As A Leader In 2021 Gartner Magic Quadrant For Cloud Core Financial Management Suites For Midsize, Large and Global Enterprises; Source: Gartner
Remember the earlier mention about the 2021 Gartner Magic Quadrant in the Cloud Core Financial Management category? Oracle NetSuite was named as a Leader in that same category for the fourth year running.
It’s not just Gartner; the IDC Marketscape has also named NetSuite as a worldwide leader in their list of software-as-a-service (SaaS) and Cloud-enabled Finance and Accounting Applications. This recognition by leading independent analysts have cemented NetSuite as a leading cloud ERP software amongst its competitors.
By contrast, SAP Business ByDesign had only made it onto the same Magic Quadrant the previous year, and even then only as a niche player.
And with the news that SAP is ceasing development of new functions for it, it’s hard to imagine that the cloud ERP software will make a repeat appearance in next year’s Magic Quadrant, much less ever be considered as a competing product on the same level as NetSuite in the near future.
3. NetSuite Will Continue To Receive Long-term Support
Oracle is heavily invested in the long-term success of their NetSuite customers. As a software-as-a-service (SaaS) true cloud ERP software, NetSuite is particularly known in the market for being natively hosted on Oracle's own servers, as opposed to the third-party servers many other cloud ERP software need to be hosted on.
Oracle also pushes out product updates for NetSuite on a regular twice-yearly basis, proving that the vendor intends to keep it on the cutting-edge of innovation in the foreseeable future.
Oracle also helps their customers get as much value as they can out of NetSuite. They go to great lengths to understand their ever-changing business requirements, and invest hundreds of millions of dollars in R&D every year to innovate new features and functionalities that address them on a regular basis.
On the other hand, SAP's decision not to develop any new functions specifically for SAP Business ByDesign mean that users of the cloud ERP software might have to make do with a solution that's no longer evolving to adapt to their business needs. It remains to be seen whether new functions delivered through the SAP BTP will make up for it.
Oracle NetSuite Offers A Stable And Proven Platform For Supporting Your Business Success
Overview of NetSuite Dashboard ;Source: NetSuite
The latest Reuters report about SAP Business ByDesign may be of concern to you, particularly if you're an existing user of the cloud ERP software.
But it's still early days, and news about ByDesign are still developing as we speak. So, you can afford to wait and see for the time being.
On the other hand, if this news has made you reconsider ByDesign as a choice for implementation in your business, Oracle NetSuite offers a solid alternative to consider.
Not only has NetSuite long been considered a leading cloud ERP software for SMEs like yours, it will continue to receive investment and support from Oracle, and certainly isn’t going to be abandoned anytime soon.
Of course, implementing a new ERP software is always a big ask, both in terms of funding and effort. Which is why we’d like to help you out with a list of government grants you can apply for to help fund such an implementation for your business.
As one of leading Oracle NetSuite ERP partners in Singapore, AFON enjoys a proven track record when it comes to implementation projects for the true cloud ERP software.
So, if you’re interested, do give us a call at +65 6323 0901, or drop us a note and we’ll get back to you shortly.
And if you’re interested in knowing how impactful a fully supported, leading true cloud ERP software like Oracle NetSuite can be to the success of your business, click on the image below to find out more.