Up in the Cloud

June 20, 2011 by Heather McIlvaine

(Image: SAP)

SAP Sales OnDemand & SAP Sourcing OnDemand are on a roll. Up next: SAP Travel OnDemand (Image: SAP)

By now, regular SAP.info readers should be familiar with the on-premise, on-demand, and on-device strategy which SAP announced in 2010. Since all innovations and enhancements in the past year have been based on this strategy, those three words – On Premise, On Demand, and On Device – pop up in nearly every press release, tweet, and article.

We understand if you’re starting to get tired of hearing about it. After publishing three preview articles on Sales OnDemand in the past year, we too were feeling a little jaded. But then we saw a live demo of the on-demand solution for sales reps by SAP Sales OnDemand project manager Bill Hou at SAPPHIRE NOW 2011 in Orlando. And we got a second wind.

Check out the roadmap for SAP Sales OnDemand here and the HD video of Bill Hou’s demo here. And here is our article on SAP Sourcing OnDemand, which is now generally available.

On Demand is on a roll. This is why we’re looking ahead to the next development, SAP Travel OnDemand. On the following pages, we give you a peek at the features and functions of Travel OnDemand and an overview of the strategy for SAP’s on-demand platform.

Next page: Features and functions of Travel OnDemand

(screenshot: SAP)

Trip approval is quick and painless - conducted via email and on device (screenshot: SAP)

More than user-friendly: People-friendly

SAP Travel OnDemand is an end-to-end travel management solution that covers every aspect of business travel from pre-trip approval through booking to submitting an expense report and getting it approved. It is hosted in the cloud and is fully integrated with SAP ERP Human Capital Management and SAP ERP Financials.

Like Sales OnDemand, Travel OnDemand is more than user-friendly, it’s people-friendly. The solution takes into account how people work and incorporates that behavior in the solution functionality. For example, many employees typically discuss a potential business trip with their boss informally before creating an official request in the travel management solution. With Travel OnDemand, you can include a personal note in the approval request, referencing that previous conversation, such as “Here are the details on the business trip we discussed.”

Mobile makes it easy

The request is sent to the manager’s mobile device where it can be approved directly. And an expense report is created automatically from the approval. You can then book the trip with the integrated online booking tool GetThere from Sabre.

During the business trip, you can use a BlackBerry, iPhone, or iPad to take pictures of receipts, upload the receipts to a travel record, and then later add them to the expense report. This makes searching for receipts after the trip a thing of the past, and since you’re constantly updating the travel record throughout the trip, it also speeds up the reimbursement process later.

After the trip, automated expense processes allow you to click and drag those uploaded receipts to the correct expense report, itemize expenses to comply with your company’s specific business rules, and finally submit the report. In addition, managers can use SAP Travel OnDemand to analyze overall travel spending. They’re able to get insights into how much different cost centers spend and compare types of expenses, such as money spent on flights, hotels, or food.

Generally available in Q1 2012

SAP Travel OnDemand will be available to a limited set of customers in Q4 2011 and will be generally available in Q1 2012. The first release of Travel OnDemand will include versions for the United States and Germany and will support the English and German languages. Businesses are able to tailor the solution to fit their needs: If the online booking tool is not needed, for example, it can be turned off. Here you’ll find video demos and FAQs for SAP Travel OnDemand.

Next page: On-demand platform strategy

(screenshot: SAP)

Managers can filter data to see who spends what and where (screenshot: SAP)

(screenshot: SAP)

Third time's the charm: On Demand has three buying centers (screenshot: SAP)

Three buying centers

At SAPPHIRE NOW in Orlando, Kaj van de Loo, senior vice president for Technology Strategy at SAP, presented the strategy for SAP’s on-demand platform, which is based on the SAP NetWeaver technology platform. SAP In-Memory Computing technology underlies all on-demand solutions on the platform.

The platform, said van de Loo, supports multiple cloud infrastructure options depending on what type of application is being used. It is built to complement and extend on-demand applications as well as on-premise applications.

“We see three buying centers for On Demand – companies, departments, and people,” van de Loo explained. SAP Business ByDesign is the on-demand solution intended for small and medium companies and delivers the complete SAP ERP suite. This fulfills the SME desire for an all-in-one approach.

Other on-demand solutions that are more focused on lines-of-business – such as Sales OnDemand, Sourcing OnDemand, and Travel OnDemand – are intended for specific departments within a company. These solutions are integrated with an SAP ERP or SAP CRM system and deliver the low time-to-value that larger enterprises are looking for.

And finally, collaboration tools like SAP StreamWork and SAP BusinessObjects BI OnDemand are individual on-demand solutions well-suited to small teams within a department or company. These solutions also integrate with on-premise solutions.

Next page: Two platforms for two kinds of applications

(screenshot: SAP)

The on-demand platform has two parts, both of which run on NetWeaver (screenshot: SAP)

Two platforms for two kinds of applications

The on-demand portfolio comprises two kinds of applications, core and edge applications, both of which run on SAP NetWeaver technology platform. These applications run on two different platforms, also called core and edge. They are for different use cases and together they make up the larger picture of SAP’s on-demand platform.

Core applications include SAP Business ByDesign and SAP partner solutions that extend ByDesign, as well as SAP Travel OnDemand and the other line-of business applications that cover core businesses processes. The core platform supports those business processes that are data, transactional, and process intensive.

Edge applications are the more collaborative, people-centric applications like SAP StreamWork and SAP Carbon Impact OnDemand. These applications run on the Project River platform, which is lightweight, purpose-specific, and networked. The applications that run on this platform are mainly developed by partners and are frequent to change.

The next-generation SAP NetWeaver technology platform – which, according to van de Loo, is currently being built –will support the data-intensive, on-demand applications of the future.

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