SAP Wants More Software Guinea Pigs

SAP (SAP) is holding back on a full-scale launch of its software-as-a-service technology, Business ByDesign, until it has more guinea pigs using it.

The Business ByDesign enterprise resource planning (ERP) software for mid-sized companies is SAP's first significant foray into software provided over the internet and its performance is likely to significantly influence the company's cloud strategy in future.

Speaking at an SAP event in London, senior VP of Business ByDesign, Rainer Zinow, said the company won't make it available to all customers until there are enough companies or "referencing accounts" using it as part of SAP's early adopter programme.

The technology is currently being used by around 90 businesses in China, France, Germany, India, the UK and the US and SAP is hoping to bring more on board in the future.

Before launching Business ByDesign on a wider scale, SAP wants each country to have a sufficient number of organisations using the technology for other businesses thinking about adopting the technology to use as case studies.

SAP launched Business ByDesign's Feature Pack 2.0 in July. For the next Feature Pack, due in 2010, SAP hopes to cut the total cost of ownership of the tech, as well as make it more flexible.

In May 2008, SAP announced it was reducing investment in Business ByDesign by around €100m during 2008 with no further "accelerated" investment planned for 2009. It also extended the timeframe for securing 10,000 customers—originally set for 2010—by 12 to 18 months.

Despite this, the company said earlier this year that the SaaS ERP tech remains a significant part of its long term strategy.