Questions to Dietmar Meding, Vice President SAP Business ByDesign. He is overseeing development of the SAP Store.
There is one question that is coming up these days, when talking to others about cloud computing. They kind of get the concept, but then the curious question is: "Okay ... but what can you do with it?"
It is not that easy to answer this question in a good way. Cloud Computing is a concept, a base to built new IT services upon. At the end, clouds are there to support *something*.
To find out what these benefits might be, every company might come to different answers. We had a chance to speak to Dietmar Meding of SAP and wanted to know how they think about creating new services and features based on cloud computing.
Dietmar Meding, Vice President SAP Business ByDesign, is overseeing the developments of the SAP Store.
Background: SAP Business ByDesign
SAP Business ByDesign is an integrated business management solution delivered on demand. Technically it is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution. It is designed specifically for growing midsize companies that want the benefits of large-scale business applications without the burden of managing a large IT infrastructure.
Interview with Dietmar Meding
Mr. Meding, please tell us more about the SAP Store. What is the strategic value?
Meding: "SAP is creating a platform called SAP Store that allows easy selling and buying of partner-created add-ons for our SAP Business ByDesign on-demand offering. The idea is the same Apple was having for their iTunes store with the important difference that SAP is creating a store for business applications. That way we are responding to customers’ demands for fast and easy access as well as consumption of software."
What advantages would your clients have from the SAP Store?
Meding: "Once purchased, the functionality including add-ons, mash-ups, integration scenarios or reports and forms will immediately be implemented in the customers’ software environment. Customers have the flexibility to easily add innovative functionality whenever required without disrupting their business. In addition to that, partners achieve a broader reach for their own offerings and can rely on the experience of SAP in handling the administrative back-office processes. For SAP the SAP Store is a volume channel for our on-demand business and allows for increased customer satisfaction. Eventually we will expand the store with more on-demand or mobility apps."
Cloud Computing as the basis for the SAP Store
Question: In how far does cloud computing play a role for the SAP Store?
Meding: Customers are more and more asking for subscription-based models which reduce investment and avoid the installation of IT infrastructure on their end. At the same time, they are asking for software which is easy to use and flexible enough to adapt to ever changing environments. This is provided through an on-demand solution such as SAP Business ByDesign which is based on a secure, scalable infrastructure. In addition to that, a strong and qualified partner network plays a crucial role in the world of cloud computing. Partners are not only reselling the solution and providing consulting and implementation services, they also build add-ons on top of it which makes functionality around SAP Business ByDesign grow quickly. This again expands the value for customers who have a wide variety of functionality to choose from for their individual requirements."
Question: Why did you choose cloud computing services in order to support the SAP Store? Where are the advantages?
Meding: "In the area of cloud computing a vendor like SAP also needs to think about how to sell the functionality to meet customers’ demands for purchasing. Most people today are familiar with tools like the iTunes Store or Facebook and have the same requirements for business software: it needs to be very easy to use but also easy to access – from any workplace, at any time. Thanks to the SAP Store, we are able to respond to these requirements. At the same time, cloud computing is a volume business and needs to be supported through a volume channel like the SAP Store."
SAP aims to provide portfolio of cloud-based solutions
Question: Which specific steps were taken by SAP to create user value by using cloud computing services?
Meding: "There is a growing tendency towards alternative deployment options which minimize requirements for IT investments on the customer side. They don’t want to worry about lengthy upgrade processes but want to rely on the fact that updates are provided automatically without disruption to their business. At the same time, there is huge interest in accessing software anytime and anywhere from various mobile devices. And while some companies are looking for a complete, integrated on-demand solution to run their entire business on, others are more interested in an environment which allows them to combine on-demand and on-premise software. Therefore, SAP is providing a whole portfolio of cloud-based solutions to fulfill the various requirements of companies, lines of businesses and people – always taking the demand for mobile solutions into consideration and therefore supporting various mobile devices more or less from the start."
SAP Business byDesign (Corporate Website)
Note: SAP Research, another unit of SAP, is a partner in VISION Cloud. However, there is no direct connection between this interview and the work done in research on the project level.