SAP Business ByDesign Is Out–So What’s NetSuite’s Next Move?

As we’ve mentioned here before, the battle between NetSuite and SAP for cloud-ERP dominance has been a lengthy, and very one-sided one. NetSuite made its name selling business software products on the Software-as-a-Service model, while SAP is historically all about the legacy systems. The latter vendor has come under fire for their lack of cloud ERP, and the former has at times taken advantage of that weakness and made a concerted effort to be the go-to cloud ERP providers.
Last week, SAP held their annual SAPPHIRE conference, and at long last announced the general release of the SAP Business ByDesign platform, which is SaaS ERP for SMBs. Business ByDesign had some trouble getting off the ground—trouble that may have largely precipitated the departure of the company’s CEO, Léo Apotheker, a couple months ago—and has been met with equal amounts delight and skepticism. CRM guru Paul Greenberg wrote on his ZDNet blog that as it stands, NetSuite’s countering ERP product is better, but more time on the market will be helpful in evaluating the product.
Many are simply happy that Business ByDesign as finally come to the fore, and see it as an indication that SAP is no longer dealing only outdated, monolithic legacy platforms. (This assumption has always been incorrect, but that’s a story for another day.) Business ByDesign may be off to a rocky start, but now that SAP has its sea legs, certainly NetSuite will counter somehow?
Even if NetSuite has always been best of the two in the cloud arena, and by a large margin, it’s never stopped them from nipping at SAP before. So it’s indeed expected they’ll cook up something to steal some of SAP’s thunder, and we wonder it could be. They did recently announce a partnership with IBM—the two are teaming up to provide enterprise cloud computing, which will combine IBM’s cloud services and software with NetSuite’s products. This joint service venture will also allow enterprise software offerings from SAP and Oracle to be linked to the cloud, so perhaps this is the information NetSuite will make use of. We’ll see.

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