SAP Business One 9.1 goes into general availability

While this is a minor release of Business One, it contains some interesting upgrades, especially for those who use it on HANA rather than SQL.

SAP Business One screen

SAP Business One 9.1

SAP has announced SAP Business One 9.1, the latest release of their SMB and mid-market focused ERP solution. Both the on-prem and cloud versions have been enhanced.

“This is a minor release, as 9.0 was the major one,” said Steve Gouveia, Solution Portfolio Manager, SAP. “While we don’t have significant changes in the solution, there are business logic and localization improvements, and also enhancements to reporting and analytics, infrastructure, architecture and lifecycle management.”

“There is quite a bit new that we have put into 9.1,” said Rinse Tamsma, Global Vice-President Sales Business One. “The most important I think is more functionality to HANA, that we couldn’t do in SQL.”

“The HANA version of Business One brings sexier and more attractive types of features because the technology allows it,” Gouveia added.

For instance, ease of use has been enhanced in an updated user interface which makes it easier to customize screens by adding, relocating or hiding fields without administrative support. However, in HANA, Business One adds role-based work centers for finance, sales, purchasing and inventory, which leverage HTML5.

“9.1 really empowers the operational power of our users on HANA because this new work bench widget makes it much easier for business users to organize and navigate their daily operation rather than just jumping from menu to menu,” Gouveia said.

”9.1 also provides insight to action, with enriched dashboards with a set of actions they can take from analyzing information present in these dashboards,” Gouveia continued. We have also increased the graphic library of our dashboards, so our users can build the cockpit and fill it in with KPIs, and just by seeing them, manage the whole operation and jump in if necessary.”

Improvements have also been made on the production module, so that it now includes support for resources, providing better visibility into and control over resource capacity for a leaner production. Resource costs can also be factored into overall product cost. Inventory item cost evaluation has been improved as well. Users can value inventory based on its serial or batch number offering the ability to determine profit margin calculation for a specific number or batch.

Support for multiple branches or business units has been added.

“In the past you could have a multi-unit deployment – but for different legal entities,” Gouveia said. “Now you can have multiple units within one location.” For example, a retailer with multiple business units can share customer data between these units for a better customer experience, and can segment the database and report separately on each branch.

Finally, pre-set default values and simpler data upload now can help to speed up implementation cycles. Along with integrated lifecycle management, it allows companies to spend less time and money on installation, updates and support. Reports have also been improved, on both SQL and HANA.

Despite the superiority of the HANA platform to SQL for Business One, even though more new sales are on HANA than SQL, the size of the install base ensures SQL will remain the dominant platform for a long time to come.

“The significant install base is still on SQL, even though in terms of new sales, a significant portion is going to HANA,” Tamsma said. “Many companies are standardized on Microsoft and that is another driving factor.”