Business ByDesign: Add-on Infinitum

For small and medium-sized businesses looking for an ERP solution, SAP Business ByDesign is an attractive option. Since the solution is cloud-based, SAP provides and maintains the systems, which means companies have fewer upfront costs. Instead, they pay subscription fees for the software on a per-user, per-month basis.

In return, companies get complete business functionality in all relevant areas, including customer relationship management, supply chain management, supplier relationship management, human resources, financials, and more. SAP Business ByDesign also includes a full set of end-to-end integration scenarios for processes like stock transfers, customer returns, payroll services, financial closing, and supply and demand planning. The solution also includes built-in service and support.

For more background information on SAP Business ByDesign, read these articles:

Next page: Industry customization

Industry customization

Even though some industry-specific functionality is built into the core offering from the start, there are simply too many diverse requirements across industries to be able to support them all. That’s why one of the most important features of SAP Business ByDesign is SAP Business ByDesign Studio, the software development kit (SDK) for SAP partners. Released for general availability in February of this year, the SDK allows partners to develop add-ons and extensions for the solution and to customize it for individual companies and industries.

Good-looking solutions

One of SAP’s stated goals with the SAP Business ByDesign Studio is to offer solutions that not only have a broader reach in terms of backend functionality, but also sport a more attractive frontend. For example, some partners might develop micro-vertical solutions for an entire industry such as a pharmaceuticals solution or a vineyard solution. Other partners, however, could deliver frontend improvements like integration with maps or mobilization of company information. The scope of the solution doesn’t matter: SAP Business ByDesign Studio supports the development of large-scale industry solutions as well as lightweight frontend integrations and everything in between.

In addition, the same SDK is used to develop both browser-based add-ons and mobile add-ons. For the development of mobile add-ons, SAP provides device-specific players that render the application so it looks and functions like a native app on each device without the need for custom development. This feature ensures that development in SAP Business ByDesign Studio is easy and that updates and maintenance run smoothly.

Next page: Infinite add-ons

Infinite add-ons

With SAP Business ByDesign Studio, there are infinite possibilities to develop industry- and line-of-business specific add-ons. These could take the form of custom reports and reporting views, additional workflows or tasks, custom forms and fields, mobilization of UIs, or integration with an external web service like a credit card check. Depending on the solution, however, an add-on might not be the right choice. Below, we look at a few of the supported application patters in the SAP Business ByDesign Studio.

Add-ons: These are used to handle inbound and outbound data such as planning a service order or confirming a professional service. It can also simplify UI structures and user cockpits.

Extensions: A logic extension is often implemented to adapt existing SAP Business ByDesign screens for cases such as fast order entry or inventory properties management.

Third-party software integration: This type of integration involves an external initiation. These solutions are used for ticketing integration and daily uploading of a cash journal.

Preconfigured template: These solutions include reports and basic data. One example is a professional service template.

Next page: SAP Store

SAP Store

Depending on the solution, it will either be operated by SAP or by a partner. All solutions, however, are available in the newly opened SAP Store. There, it is possible to browse through mobile solutions by industry, line of business, regional availability, enterprise size, and mobile OS. Like in the familiar commercial app stores, visitors can simply purchase a solution, and it will be automatically deployed.

Develop in the cloud

Partners interested in developing add-ons for SAP Business ByDesign must first sign up with SAP; they will then receive a development tenant, a URL, and an application to install on their PC. SAP Business ByDesign Studio uses Microsoft Visual Studio as the frontend and the framework of the development environment, but the development tenant runs in the cloud.