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SAP Opens Up Business ByDesign Feature Pack

By David Needle     Feedback

Enhancements to SAP's cloud-based Business ByDesign include better usability and a more open platform for customization.

SAP announced several enhancements to its on-demand Business ByDesign software today, following the general release earlier this month of the related Feature pack 2.6. The enterprise software giant said the more open Business ByDesign platform will let a broad ecosystem of partners bring customizations of the platform to market. Another key advance in today's release is additional support for mobile devices.

According to SAP (NYSE: SAP), about 80 percent specific project adaptations, like adjusting the user interface, creating new reports, building forms and making adjustments to business processes, can be completed by customers without programming. For the remaining 20 percent, SAP just released a software development kit (SDK), the SAP Business ByDesign studio that's designed to help partner companies create add-on solutions.

"We've taken the large enterprise features and made them available at a cost that average or emerging growth companies can take advantage of. Things like a business intelligence engine and a compliance engine are embedded in Business ByDesign," Frank Iannotti, national vice president for SAP's Business ByDesign, told InternetNews.com. "This really enables what would be very costly in earlier solutions."

SAP said large enterprises running SAP Business Suite software in their headquarters have shown a strong interest in having their subsidiaries use Business ByDesign as an easier to manage remote solution that integrates both with headquarters and subsidiary partners. The feature pack 2.6 release offers the first such integration scenario for financial consolidation.

Specifically, the idea is to help companies deal with the growing level of global financial reporting standards such as Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) and International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), multiple currencies particularly at the subsidiary and transaction currency level, as well as tax jurisdictions. SAP said it plans to release further integration scenarios for sales and distribution in the next version.

On the mobile front, feature pack 2.6 for SAP Business ByDesign extends mobile support to the iPad and RIM BlackBerry smartphones; the software had already supported the iPhone. SAP said it plans to add support for Android and Windows Phone 7 operating systems in the next release. Partners can also build native mobile applications that run Web services from SAP Business ByDesign, as well as build mobile applications using SAP Business ByDesign studio.

The 2.6 also leverages SAP's in-memory computing technology further with specific support for sales and financial planning. In-memory technology lets users process huge amounts of data in real-time even on a mobile device. A dashboard app for feature pack 2.6 gives customers access to what SAP said is complete analytical business information including worksheets to arrange and organize reports, as well as annotations, notes, e-mail and voice notes for collaboration with colleagues.

"With feature pack 2.6, we are not only delivering additional value to our customers, but are also providing new opportunities for co-innovation to our partners," Peter Lorenz, executive vice president for On Demand and corporate officer at SAP, said in a statement. "As we have now moved to a cycle of delivering a new feature pack every six months, the next big step in our SAP Business ByDesign roadmap will be the general availability of feature pack 3.0 in August."

Read more about SAP ERP here.

David Needle is the West Coast bureau chief at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.

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This article was originally published on February 8, 2011
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