Mr. Agarwala, what does the future of SAP Business ByDesign look like?
Pravin Agarwala: SAP Business ByDesign has a solid future in the midmarket and upper midmarket, in the public sector as well as with subsidiaries. We are seeing a lot of interest in a comprehensive ERP suite in the cloud. We’ve just signed up our largest-ever deal, with New South Wales Trade & Investment, in Australia. They will transfer their legacy system onto a single, consolidated SAP cloud platform. In addition, Lars Dalgaard, executive board member responsible for SAP’s cloud business, clearly articulated that Business ByDesign will remain a core part of our cloud strategy.
The organization has been changed quite a lot, and development is now centralized in Bangalore. Why?
Yes, we have centralized the development of SAP Business ByDesign largely in India, so development from planning to execution, quality assurance and everything is based out of India. And that adds to our efficiency. When we have one single place, people can come together and solve problems faster. But there are some key field-facing roles in other locations as well – like Germany, U.S., and China.
Cost is of course one of the factors for this. However, largely it is also about a clear location strategy where one location has the end-to-end ownership of a focus area in SAP’s cloud strategy.
Read on the next page about the biggest challenge.
How does the cooperation work with other labs?
As a location we focus on SAP Business ByDesign, but in the end it is not about the location. We all have one common goal: to have more and happy customers. There are people who are working from the SAP side on the SuccessFactors products, there are people from my team working in the SuccessFactors office in India, there are people in Germany working on the HR system Employee Central, and there are people who are supporting ByDesign and other projects from the professional services team.
What is your biggest challenge?
Our biggest challenge is to ensure all our efforts are aligned towards adding value to our customers and prospects.
How do you go about that?
We have to reduce waste by improving things which are not directly adding value for the customer. It is about putting your energy into things that have a measurable impact on helping us win more customers and responding faster to the customer. It also means that we need to ensure that most of the people are engaged in productive roles like development.
Read on the next page about the Software Development Kit.What are you working on right now?
Two weeks ago, we have just announced the general availability of Feature Pack 4.0. With FP 4.0 we are entering new markets including Denmark, the Netherlands, Italy and Spain. The countries are currently ramping up their direct and indirect sales teams but the solution is already available and is also be supported by global resources in the beginning.
We changed to a quarterly release cycle to respond faster to customer needs. We are also working very closely with the field. We continue to work on our roadmap, which focuses on subsidiary and professional services, by adding more features and functionalities.
Besides this we are investing heavily in our people, their learning, and their development.
What have you changed since you took over?
We used to build new features and then look for customers. We changed that: Today we take an outside-in approach by looking at the customers and partners and bringing their requirements into the product. We have become a customer-driven organization. At CeBIT 2011 we launched SAP Business ByDesign Ideas. The global English forum followed in August. Our customers and partners provide their ideas through this very easy to use tool and when we plan for new releases we go through the list, prioritize, and implement what makes sense. So far we had about 1,400 ideas of which already 800 were implemented.
What about partners?
Partners continue to be very important stakeholders for us. With FP 4.0, the Software Development Kit (SDK) was made generally available for partners to extend the solution for last mile capabilities. We continue to invest in a proactive public solution model, so that partners can consume what we develop faster. We also deliver reusable building blocks which help partners create the customer specific add-ons much faster. We are also delivering a localization kit that helps customize the solution for a subsidiary in a country which we are not penetrating right now.
Read on the next page about the largest ByDesign deal to date.
You mentioned the SDK. Does that mean that SAP is now relying on partners to build new functionality?
Absolutely not. The partners will extend what we build in the core. This could help partners to close the last mile gaps at customers. At the same time, we will not be able to go to all industries and sub-verticals and we are looking to partners to take us there. For example, Accenture has built something for the chemical industry. In these cases we rely on partners, although SAP is investing in features and functionality. We will continue to do that.
New South Wales Trade & Investment in Australia is the company’s largest SAP Business ByDesign customer win to date. As part of the three-year, A$14.5 million agreement SAP will deliver a range of cloud solutions that includes SAP Business ByDesign, SAP Payroll, and cloud consulting services. The project will involve the transition and consolidation of NSW Trade & Investment’s legacy ERP system including 16 agencies – totaling over 8,500 employees – onto a single, consolidated SAP cloud platform. NSW Trade & Investment expects to deliver savings of more than A$12.5 million annually by enabling greater efficiencies across the entire organization.
Pravin Agarwala is vice president and head of the SAP Business ByDesign development organization. In this role, he sets the direction and strategy of the product, product road map, and development. Agarwala has been working with SAP for more than 15 years in different roles and responsibilities, from development to customer support and implementation, research, and various roles in management. He has been part of the cloud development organization since it started in January 2005. Agarwala graduated from Assam Engineering College (Guwahati, India) in 1996 with a Bachelor of Engineering degree in Electronics and Telecommunication.