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November 9, 2011

SAP boss: Legal issues hindering cloud adoption

Business ByDesign on-demand platform still only available in 10 countries, but SAP now claims 700 users

By Steve Evans

German enterprise software giant SAP has admitted that uptake of its cloud-based Business ByDesign platform has been hindered by legal issues.

Speaking at its SAP TechEd/Sapphire Now conference double-header in Madrid, co-CEO Jim Hagemann Snabe said the company now has 700 customers running the on-demand suite. The company has been coy over the exact number of customers Business ByDesign has, refusing to offer a number when asked by CBR at last year’s event.

Snabe however said the issues around regulation and legislation in different regions has resulted in the company holding back expansion into certain markets.

"We’re limited to eight to 10 countries for Business ByDesign at the moment, which is of course reducing its market opportunity," he told a press conference. "We wanted to make sure that we prove to the world that we can run end to end business in the cloud. We are in that respect I think advanced of the competition, which is just becoming available with similar cloud offerings."

In terms of why the expansion has been limited so far, Snabe said: "We need to do localisation on the product in other countries. Localisation is not just about languages, it’s about making sure you apply to all the legal requirements of each country. Sometimes that’s easy, other times it is complicated."

He did not put a time frame on when rollout of Business ByDesign would be expanded.

SAP has been accused in the past of not clearly articulating its cloud roadmap and of being slow to the market. A recent survey by the UK & Ireland SAP User Group revealed that a majority (58%) of respondents said that cloud adoption was being slowed by a lack of clarity over SAP’s product roadmap, while 27% did not know what SAP’s cloud offerings were and the benefits they give.

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