AMR gets SaaSy over SAP

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More on the question of SAP's slowing-down (or otherwise) of its SaaS offering, Business ByDesign, as AMR Research analyst Bruce Richardson seems to be back-tracking and taking a hefty glug of Germanic Kool-Aid. Richardson earlier this month noted:

“Cost containment (had) replaced innovation as a dominant theme. This was reflected in the decision to delay the rollout of SAP Business ByDesign, the new business system targeted at midsize companies...”

But following his recent trip to Berlin, things have changed somewhat. Conceding that readers might have assumed from reading his analysis that SAP had taken Business ByDesign off the price list (which isn't what he said at all if you read it carefully!), he goes on to argue:

“This is not true, based on my discussions with Dr Peter Zencke... When we talked about the deceleration comments made during the earnings call last month, Dr Zencke said the company was pushing market expectations about reaching the 10,000 customers-per-year target out by 12-18 months, but “not slowing product development.” In fact, he told us in Orlando his team had added 100 developers.”

I remain firmly unconvinced. No-one suggested that Business ByDesign had been canned or taken off the market, but its release strategy has undeniably – and embarassingly – been revamped, adding weight to claims by SaaS start-ups that the old guard vendors will have serious issues cracking this new model of computing on their own terms.

Still, Richardson notes that to date, there are 150 customers in six countries who have all migrated to release 1.1. which added “30% more software over the first version shipped”. Release 1.2 should be out in June or July. The next release adds 10% more code over 1.1 and 40% over 1.0. SAP developers are working on 2.0, which may be ready by the first quarter of next year. Yeah, it may be. Or it may not. We shall see.

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