How SAP Business ByDesign will change the way SMEs do business

The launch of SAP Business ByDesign (BBD) in Australia in August 2011 has provided our small to medium enterprises (SMEs) access to a new Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) option, designed specifically for them.SAP has its eyes now set firmly on over 85,000 SMEs in Australia they have identified as potentially interested in the product. Yet their penetration rate with the SMEs will be largely determined by the real business benefits derived from SAP BBD.

So how exactly will the latest cloud offering from SAP change the way SMEs do business? 

  • It provides access to a large enterprise capability at SME prices. 
  • It helps SMEs achieve speed to market.  
  • It helps professional services businesses stem revenue leakage.  
  • It’s mobile device friendly, enabling SMEs to access key business information from virtually anywhere.  BBD will also, in some cases, provide flexibility to large enterprises when considering their business systems use and deployment. Far from the traditional methods of deploying and using an ERP system, the BBD platform and associated business solutions provide a step change in the way businesses can be run.

Affordable access to a full ERP solution
One of the biggest challenges that SAP has to face is the common misconception that ERP is only for large businesses. The truth is that businesses of all sizes can benefit from ERP. They just never had affordable access to it. With the launch of SAP BBD, SMEs have been given unprecedented access to the infrastructure, streamlined and accelerated processes, and real-time visibility that ERP provides and that every business craves.  Yet BBD extends beyond traditional ERP modules as it features embedded functionality that would normally be delivered through separate applications such as CRM and Project Management. It enables businesses to manage each of their key functions such as finance, HR, supply chain and procurement, through one software solution. In doing so, it gives SMEs the functional depth of a large scale organisation, just without the price tag and implementation time that comes with heavy, onpremise IT infrastructure.

As SAP hosts and maintains BBD on its IT systems, it is cheaper, more secure and easier for SMEs to move to an ERP business solution, and eliminates the need to forecast upgrades.

Another key benefit is the flexibility BBD has to grow with the business without the constraints on capital or capability, by allowing add-on apps that businesses may need to meet specific business needs. It also enables them to take advantage of miniapps developed by other businesses elsewhere using the BBD SDK.

Transparency and improved communications
SAP BBD provides SMEs with increased transparency and control over their operations, allowing them to immediately identify and respond to issues and opportunities, which otherwise would have been missed. Information can be shared throughout organisations, opening up communication between departments, regardless of staff functions. By providing prebuilt analysis of key business drivers and the ability to share that information with their team, BBD enables SMEs to focus on cash flow and profitability.

Scalability
As the software has been designed with SMEs in mind, the functions of SAP BBD are aligned closely with the objectives and actions of businesses of this size. SMEs are able to pursue goals of achieving organic revenue growth and profitability, mainly by reducing costs and increasing market share, concurrently.  The software is delivered by a flexible monthly per user subscription so there is no upfront capital expense and no operating cost of hosting it on premise. SMEs are therefore able to ensure that they only invest capital in the direct growth of the business, without having to sacrifice the foundation which will support them as they grow. It is also easy to deploy and can be up and running in just four to 12 weeks.

Competitive advantage
SMEs that move fast and adopt BBD open themselves up to gaining a newfound competitive advantage, by moving past pressures that normally would have hindered their growth as they have access to advanced, integrated software functions.  As an adaptable solution, BBD enables SMEs to easily change workflows and even core business processes. This speed enables them to stay ahead of the competition and adapt quickly and almost seamlessly to new opportunities.

SMEs from around the world are experiencing the big business benefits of moving to ERP with BBD. This on-demand cloud model eliminates the major cost barriers by allowing SMEs to treat ERP implementation as an operating expense and take advantage of the operational capabilities only previously
associated with more mature solutions. The independent magazine for SAP professionals

Brian Pereira is CEO of CN Group, the first Australian partner appointed for SAP Business ByDesign.

This article was first published in Inside SAP December 2011.

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