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End-to-End Business in the Cloud

by Greg Chase | SAPinsider

January 1, 2012

Cloud computing enables companies to gain the benefits of technology quickly and inexpensively; with software-as-a-service, businesses can access enterprise-class applications without needing an IT infrastructure. This article offers an overview of SAP Business ByDesign, SAP's ERP software solution offered in the cloud. Discover how SAP Business ByDesign can help your company grow and profit, and take a tour of the three components that SAP has built out: the application, the platform, and the cloud service.

Cloud computing is increasingly recognized as a way for companies to gain the benefits of technology quickly and inexpensively. Software-as-a-service (SaaS) is one class of offerings in the cloud through which companies can access enterprise-class applications without the need for an IT infrastructure. Whether to gain the benefits of a core ERP system to run their main business, or that of their subsidiaries, many SAP customers are turning to SAP Business ByDesign, our ERP software solution offered in the cloud.

Initially aimed at smaller companies, SAP Business ByDesign is now leveraged by both small and large enterprises. As the typical customer size has increased, so has the depth of the solution's functionality and scalability. In spite of the advantages the solution offers, like company-wide visibility and agility, some customers are not fully aware of its capabilities and how SAP Business ByDesign can help their company grow and profit. To give you a better understanding of how the solution can fit into your IT strategy, let's look at the three components that SAP has built out: the application, the platform, and the cloud service.

Component 1: The Application

SAP Business ByDesign is a single application designed to run the end-to-end business processes of an entire company. Organizations that need to develop mature business processes without building out large-scale IT departments can utilize SAP Business ByDesign as a SaaS.

The core business processes that SAP Business ByDesign supports span the breadth of your company, but the application is modular in nature. You can choose a particular starter package to implement as a jumping-off point and then expand the scope as your needs dictate. The starter packages for the application provide support for such business processes as:

  • Order-to-cash
  • Marketing-to-opportunity
  • Resource management
  • Expense reimbursement

As a single application in the cloud, SAP Business ByDesign serves as a nucleus for your company's IT strategy. It provides centralized security and governance for your data as well as user access control, and it lets you roll out a user-centric strategy for engaging employees in collaboration, self-service, and mobile device support.

SAP Business ByDesign also brings the power of business-process-oriented thinking to your company, allowing you to adapt your operations as your company grows, increase the efficiency of your operations, and manage multiple lines of business in a single application. It delivers a single information architecture to provide a real-time, integrated, high-quality view of your customer, product, and financial information for better reporting, analysis, and decision making.

Component 2: The Platform

The application is built on the cloud-based SAP Business ByDesign platform (see Figure 1). This platform-as-a-service (PaaS) provides development tools and a cloud-based infrastructure, allowing partners to create integrated add-on solutions that are posted in the SAP Store. Customers can then purchase applications from the store and quickly install them in their SAP Business ByDesign tenant. These same development tools can be used to customize a customer's tenant, integrate third-party web-based services, and tailor micro-vertical solutions. SAP manages the partner applications in the cloud in the same way as the customer instances, and integrates them into the security and user management capabilities of the customer's tenant.

Figure 1 The SAP Business ByDesign platform-as-a-service offers development tools and a cloud-based infrastructure for developing applications, customizing instances, integrating on-premise systems with third-party services, and developing vertical solutions

The platform is also the common foundation for SAP's family of line-of-business (LOB) on-demand applications, including SAP Sales On­Demand and SAP Travel OnDemand. The platform enables the LOB on-demand applications and the SAP Business ByDesign application to integrate with the on-premise SAP Business Suite to create a hybrid of cloud and on-premise IT architectures, so that customers with existing SAP Business Suite installations can derive even more value from their investments while leveraging the cloud to quickly deploy this new functionality.

Component 3: The Cloud Service

The cloud service component of SAP Business ByDesign runs the SAP Business ByDesign application, SAP's LOB on-demand applications, and the platform infrastructure over the Internet in a highly available, secure manner (see Figure 2). This structure frees your IT department or strategic partners to focus on mapping business requirements to SAP Business ByDesign application capabilities rather than worrying about the technical details involved with installing and managing the software.

Figure 2 Features of SAP's cloud service running SAP Business ByDesign

A Perfect Fit

For customers who are not yet running an integrated ERP system, I recommend exploring SAP Business ByDesign. You'll get the core business processes you need and a mature IT operation without having to grow your own capability. For customers who are already running an on-premise ERP system, SAP's LOB on-demand applications can enable you to quickly add new functionality in the cloud while extending the value of your existing technology investments.

To learn more, visit


Listen to this web-exclusive podcast to hear Greg Chase discuss the impact of cloud on the IT organization and dispel one of the most popular misconceptions about cloud-based ERP.


Greg Chase ( is Senior Director of SAP Business ByDesign Solution Marketing at SAP. He joined SAP in 2006 and has nearly 20 years of experience in the software industry, holding roles in product marketing, sales, product management, and engineering. Greg is a frequent blogger on topics such as IT cloud strategy, software tools and development, software-as-a-service, hybrid cloud/on-premise IT architectures, platform-as-a-service, and business process management methodology.

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