Move over Salesforce.com. SAP will soon offer its own Platform as a Service and AppExchange-like online applications store.
These are the next big steps in SAP's on-demand push, and they will roll out in what the company describes as a deliberate fashion starting early next year. The plans were detailed Wednesday at SAP's Influencer Summit in Santa Clara, California.
At the center of SAP's burgeoning on-demand strategy is SAP Business ByDesign (BBD), the on-demand applications suite for managing financials, customer relationships, human resources, projects, procurement, and the supply chain. After years in development, including a significant rewrite that delayed general release by more than a year until July 2010, BBD is now ready to serve as the basis of a Platform as a Service (PaaS), SAP executives said.
The BBD-based PaaS will enable partners, customers and SAP itself, to develop and run on-demand applications that can stand alone or extend and tightly integrate with SAP's on-demand and on-premise applications.
The first step toward platform services will come in January with an upgrade release that will include a Business ByDesign Studio for developing applications. A software development kit is also in the works. SAP said it will gradually bring development partners on board and launch an online app store during the first half of 2011.
SAP's platform play comes as no surprise. The company has already developed SAP Carbon Impact OnDemand and SAP Sourcing OnDemand on the BBD platform. And this week executives offered a peek at coming Sales OnDemand (sales force automation) and Travel OnDemand (travel-expense reporting) applications set for release in the first half of 2011. A Career OnDemand (HR and talent management) app is expected in the second half of next year.
SAP is years behind Salesforce.com in delivering an on-demand platform and supporting infrastructure. More than 185,000 apps have been built on the CRM vendor's Force.com platform, and more than 700,000 instances of those apps have been installed from Salesforce.com's online AppExchange.