Saas ? Erp in the mid-market ? On the way to the hybrid model
8 June

Saas ? Erp in medium-sized businesses ? On the way to the hybrid model

There are the buzzwords in IT at the moment: SAAS and cloud-computing. Everyone is talking about these terms and they are analysed in many IT publications, often mixed together as proof of innovation. However, the SaaS model only represents one part of the offer that is gathered under the term "cloud".

Helpful for understanding cloud computing is a video in YouTube with the title: Cloud Computing Plain and Simple

Difference between ASP and SaaS

When it comes to SaaS, critics are quick to talk about 'old wine in new bottles'. In fact, the offer differs from the  Application Service Provider (ASP) that has existed for more than 20 years does not appear at first glance: a supplier provides one or several Applications on a rental basis and thus also provides the underlying infrastructure, which the customer thus also rents.

The basic Difference is explained by the approach of the Saas model:

An ASP solution may involve each customer having their own software solution hosted on appropriate hardware in a data centre and delivered via network, Internet or  VPN is provided, i.e. One-To-One.

That Saas model but provides for all customers or users to access the same hardware and software, also called One-To-Many Approach. As a rule, such a solution is made available exclusively via the Internet, such as SAP Business ByDesign.

Advantages of SaaS

The advantages of a Saas solution are also tempting for small and medium-sized enterprises:

  • Relieving the burden or even dispensing with an own IT department
  • No high initial investment when introducing new software
  • Calculable rates in the rental model
  • Scalability of the solution
  • Professional Data security in professional data centres

All in all, there is a lot to be said for switching to a Saas solution!

Restraint among German SMEs

In a Article in a study was published according to which three quarters of the companies surveyed do not deal with the topic of SaaS at all.


The study shows that almost every fourth company uses ERP software for more than ten years," said Michael Gottwald, Managing Director of SoftSelect. The companies are foregoing a generation change of their ERP software and are instead accepting high maintenance, operating and process costs?

End quote

The reservations that stand in the way of the model, however, cannot be completely dismissed:

  • Unsafe data protection
  • Dependence on the availability of the internet
  • Migration of internal operational know-how
  • Dependence on the provider (what happens if I want to switch)
  • Lack of adaptation to own specific processes

The main problem

Most of the concerns mentioned here can at least be put into perspective. Often, data is more secure in a professional data centre than on a "home server", as one rarely finds the appropriate technology and know-how at a professional data centre. SMEs finds. The internet may sometimes fail, but the breakdown can also happen in the server room at home. The in-house know-how is probably better kept in the core business. And as far as switching providers is concerned, it is always advisable to regulate such things contractually in advance.

The adaptability

Only as far as the adjustments are concerned ... Here the criticism concerns a structural circumstance. We remember: the Saas model follows a one-to-many approach. The same software with the same processes for many different users or companies. The nature, especially of the German SME sector, is that it is very diverse and multifaceted. Many thousands of companies that have been able to survive for years and decades mainly because they have occupied a special niche, have a special product on the market, have developed a special service particularly well.

Of course, all these companies drive TradeThe company's business, service or production processes can usually be mapped in standard software packages. Often only 5 - 10% are missing for a complete solution. But it is precisely these missing functions that often make this essential difference to the competitor's business model. That is what matters.

The "hybrid model

But who says you have to exclude one or the other? The solution could be to secure the advantages of both worlds. Of course, this presupposes a platform that allows this. In other words, a highly customisable  ERP like SAP Business One which is supplemented by applications offered in the cloud and/or as a Saas model.

The pioneer of such a strategy is certainly Coresystems. the Cloud solutions from the Swiss SAP development partners are aimed at rapid deployment and use as an extension to SAP Business One.

But also with the tools such as the integration platform b1iSN services that are made available on the Internet can be integrated in a very short time. For example, the e-mail marketing platform Clever Elements The system is based on a cost-plus approach, but can be easily integrated via the provided interfaces and b1i.

SAP is also breaking new ground here. Offers like the one here Bi-On-Demand service described in the blog are just the beginning!

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