Nowadays, companies that want to use business applications no longer need a separate server room or an IT administrator.
Everyday solutions and even office programs can now be operated through an Internet browser. The applications are hosted on external servers in data centers off company premises.
There are now even on-demand versions of SAP ERP, SAP CRM, and SAP BI. The advantage is that companies don’t have to invest in an expensive IT infrastructure. And they don’t have to worry about hosting or maintenance.
The on-demand applications meet all the common security standards and certificates, such as ISAE 3402 reports and ISO/IEC 27001.
Despite the move that SAP and many other companies are making toward on-demand software, we are still only at the first stages of cloud computing. This fact is clearly illustrated in the following SCN blog entry by Richard Hirsch. Hirsch analyzes the effects that cloud computing has on the Internet of Things and dares to predict what machine-to-machine communication could look like in the near future.
In this article, however, we’ll stick to SAP’s on-demand applications. On the following pages, we’ll take a look at:
- SAP BusinessObjects BI OnDemand
- SAP Business ByDesign
- SAP Carbon Impact OnDemand
- SAP StreamWork
- SAP Sales OnDemand
- SAP Sourcing OnDemand
With SAP BusinessObjects OnDemand, you have all the standard BI tools at your fingertips, enabling you to search data, perform analyses, create reports, and configure what-if scenarios. For the analyses, you can upload a calculation table from almost any data source.
The results can be presented in easy-to-interpret dashboards and shown in graphics and diagrams. Preconfigured templates and scenarios are particularly helpful here.
Because employees work with sensitive and internal data when they use BI software, special security measures need to be taken. For example, different access rights can be granted depending on the employee, so that not every person has access to all data and functions.
SAP BusinessObjects BI OnDemand is offered as a software and hardware package. You can test it out free-of-charge before you take the plunge.
SAP Business ByDesign is SAP’s online ERP solution. The on-demand software maps all key processes that are commonplace in small companies and midsize businesses. These include financials, marketing, service, sales, production, logistics, human resources, and purchasing.
SAP offers SAP Business ByDesign starter packs for CRM, ERP/financials, and for service providers. They can be purchased for as little as €79 per user per month.
In the SAP Store, you’ll find more applications from SAP partners, which any company can buy to extend their business functionality. And thanks to a partnership between SAP and Google, it will be possible to integrate Google apps such as Gmail, Google Docs, and Google Calendar. This integration is planned for feature pack 4.0, due out in summer 2012.
In feature pack 3.5, which has been on the market since January 2012, there are additional scenarios for large companies. They enable corporations to equip their branches and subsidiaries with SAP Business ByDesign and connect the on-demand software to the central ERP application at company headquarters.
SAP StreamWork brings the flavor of Facebook into your office: This collaboration software enables you to network with colleagues, swap files, and work together on projects. But don’t worry: The only thing SAP StreamWork and Facebook share is their sociability. The SAP StreamWork community is limited only to your work environment and cannot be viewed publicly.
You can use SAP StreamWork together with SAP BusinessObjects Explorer. Other applications – such as e-mail, WebEx, and Evernote – can also be integrated.
In addition to the PC version, there are mobile versions of the software for BlackBerrys and iPhones. This means that you can take a look at your team members’ current messages and activities while you’re away from your desk.
Depending on your needs, SAP StreamWork is available in Basic, Professional, and Enterprise editions. The Basic edition is free-of-charge. You receive 250 MB per user and can create up to five activities. These activities are deleted automatically after a year.
The Professional edition costs U.S.$9 per user per month. With it, you can create 100 activities, which are stored for up to two years. Each user is allocated 5 GB memory.
For U.S.$13 per user, SAP StreamWork Enterprise edition offers enhanced security functions. You can create up to 200 activities, which are retained for three years. Each user is allotted 10 GB memory. Furthermore, you can adapt the look and feel of the software by adding your company logo.
SAP Sourcing OnDemand provides all the key functions for purchasing. These include applications for strategic procurement, contract management, and supplier management.
The software gives you all the important information about your suppliers and you are informed when a contract expires, so that you can extend it if you wish. What’s more, SAP Sourcing OnDemand helps you to find and assess suppliers. You can also create project plans and generate reports and analyses with the software.
SAP Sourcing OnDemand is integrated with SAP SRM and SAP ERP as a standard feature.