SAP’s channel-focused product for the lower part of the SMB market brings in new functionality from the HANA platform to add the ability to forecast product demand.
SAP has announced the general availability of the 9.2 version of its SAP Business One SMB-focused business management software. The new version deepens the HANA intelligent analytics capabilities, particularly through the addition of the ability to forecast product demand. It also adds a project management module, greatly enhancing the more limited project management capabilities in Business One 9.1.
“While SAP Business One runs on HANA and previously had made use of its capabilities, with this release we have expanded its functionality,” said Finn Backer, Head of the SAP Global Business One Solution organization, whose role involves managing the SAP Business One solution experts in the field who train partners on the product and do things like help them with demos.
A key new addition in this release is the ability to forecast product demand in order to improve knowledge for material resource planning.
“With this intelligent forecasting, Business One uses the libraries of HANA and HANA’s regression analysis capabilities to try and project the demand for items,” Backer said. The forecasts are displayed with rapid dashboarding functionality.
Version 9.2 also adds CRM functionality to the semantic layer, a business-term focused representation of the raw data in the system.
“The semantic layer allows a normal business user without knowledge of the database to easily create whatever type of report that they want,” Backer said. “We have expanded the semantic layer from 9.1 by introducing a new view for CRM. I believe this is very important because it provides a big efficiency gain for partners and customers.”
The new version also greatly expands Business One’s project management capabilities into a full module, which helps monitor the progress of tasks and stages, including all project-related transactions, documents and resources.
“Project management capability isn’t completely new with 9.2,” Backer said. “There were a few small things in 9.1. However, the capability has been significantly enhanced to the point where it now has full functionality. Customers will see this as a major step, where they can start using this functionality.”
Backer indicated that this module is not intended as a substitute for third party project management tools, for customers who truly need full-blown project management solutions.
“Often, however, customers don’t need a full-blown third party project management solution that costs a lot of money,” Backer said. “This provides a ‘lite’ project management capability for those use cases. We have had a lot of positive feedback on those capabilities.”
SAP Business One started out as an on-prem product, but three and a half years ago SAP added a cloud version, and have been adding onto that since then, including making an Infrastructure-as-a-Service offering available last year.
“We are really ramping up cloud deployment services in North America, where the proportion of cloud business is high,” Backer said. “On-prem tends to be more common in places like Africa where the Internet is less reliable and thus less well-trusted.”