SAP has designs on new government business

SAP has tweaked Business ByDesign for the public sector.

By Peter Sayer
May 23, 2017


Don't expect it to convert them overnight, though.

"Government purchase decisions roll out pretty slowly," he said.

For that reason, the company decided to skip beta testing or customer trials. Koch hopes to have the first government customers live within the year, though. "I would expect our typical sales to implementation cycle is longer than our corporate customers, but not that much longer," he said.  

While this is a U.S. only service for now, if all goes according to plan then can expect versions of ByDesign tailored for governments in other countries in time -- but likely one at a time.

"Governments get very interested in data security and where the data is housed and how many people have access to it, and things like that," Koch said. Dealing with that increases operational complexity and, while it's nothing SAP can't handle, it's something Koch prefers to handle one country after another, rather than all at once.

Government customers will pay for ByDesign in the same way as enterprises do, with the monthly subscription fee based on the number of users. Koch wouldn't be drawn on the details.

In addition to the features tailored for the public sector, they'll get full access to all the features of the enterprise version -- although, as Koch said, things like the "order to cash" function may not be as useful.

SAP will work with existing ByDesign partners to build out the service, particularly those with experience of the data migration component, "rarely the most pleasant part of an ERP deployment," as Koch put it.

"The intent is that we are the digital core: payables, receivables, invoicing," said Koch, with the system also becoming the master data repository.

Switching out the green screens could allow governments to modernize their activities in other ways, too.

"It opens the opportunity for some really interesting things. The usage of CRM to manage your interactions with your citizenry. Who sent a letter, made a phone call?" he said.

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