Business ByDesign on iPad

Feature Article | March 10, 2011 by Frank Völkel

Conveniently mobile: graphics and analysis with Business ByDesign (image: Frank Völkel)

Conveniently mobile: graphics and analysis with SAP Business ByDesign (image: Frank Völkel)

It’s finally time: Since the middle of last year, the talk at numerous events has been of SAP Business ByDesign going mobile – first for iPhone and later for iPad. Version 2.5 of the modern ERP solution, which some refer to as “SAP Business Suite Lite,” arrived for the former device in September 2010, and now it’s the Apple tablet’s turn.

SAP Business ByDesign – otherwise only accessible by Web browser – is now available for iPad and the imminent iPad 2. And you won’t even need a license to run some tests and take your first steps with the app’s demo version.

The SAP Business ByDesign app is free for download through iTunes at this link.

Configuring the dashboard app on iPad

Configuring the dashboard app on iPad

The app enables users to perform detailed analyses of reported data, filter files, add comments and notes to reports, and adjust the size and format of presented information. Those familiar with SAP Business ByDesign 2.5/2.6 will already recognize the option to e-mail the graphical reports they generate, and the app also includes a paper-clip icon that calls up a kind of clipboard typical of conventional PCs. Last but not least, certain users will likely find the ability to include voice messages when e-mailing reports intriguing.

Figures, graphics, and commenting functionality

Figures, graphics, and commenting functionality

During our own test drive of the SAP Business ByDesign app, we found that it can compare different report data from a single source in no time. Creating reports is an easy drag-and-drop process, and many SAP users will recognize the highlighting and follow-up functions. In terms of graphical presentation, various diagram types and time intervals are available; you can also customize how information is displayed to suit your preferences.

The app’s commenting function, meanwhile, is similar to that of Adobe Acrobat and also supports handwritten notes.

Next page: Worksheets, graphics, and printing

Recording a spoken comment

Recording a spoken comment

Print out reports straight from your iPad

Print out reports straight from your iPad

Dashboard: worksheets, graphics, and printing

The worksheets that constitute the SAP Business ByDesign app’s organizational basis are stored under the menu “My Worksheets.” It’s possible to clearly arrange one or more graphics and their underlying data on one worksheet, and a swipe of the finger can transform the size and content of these objects in a wide variety of ways not yet seen on iPad. The dashboard app demonstrates how much SAP has invested in intuitive user interfaces, not least through its acquisition of BusinessObjects. While highly robust, the app’s functional scope never overwhelms the user with options.

Printing in Windows and Mac OS

This ease of use – along with an integrated help function available in four languages – enables even neophyte business users to jump right into SAP Business ByDesign 2.6. Before getting started, simply open the app’s settings to activate the log files and enter your SAP account information. You can also skip this step by accessing a demo mode that already includes some example data, enabling you to get right down to trying out the app’s graphical analyses and corresponding report output.

Finally, the SAP Business ByDesign app even makes it possible to print out charts and graphics straight from your iPad, no matter whether you’re on-site with a customer or back at the office. Doing so merely requires the device’s latest firmware (iOS 4.2.1) and an active AirPrint service (under Windows or Mac OS).

The test data is limited in some respects

The test data is limited in some respects

An overview of worksheets, including previews of their data and graphics

An overview of worksheets, including previews of their data and graphics

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