Oracle Luring SAP Business ByDesign Customers With Free Cloud ERP Offer

Oracle is dangling a carrot to SAP Business ByDesign customers who might not be happy with the future direction of the cloud ERP suite, offering a free year of its own cloud ERP software to those who make the switch.

SAP customers that commit to a three-year contract for the Oracle ERP Cloud subscription service will get the first year free of charge, Oracle says on a webpage promoting the offer.

As Oracle notes in the fine print, the three-year contract is non-cancelable. The offer applies only to Oracle's ERP subscription service and can't be used for things like professional services, managed services, integration services, education, training or support that goes beyond what's in the basic service.

[Related: SAP Scaling Back Business ByDesign Development Efforts ]

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SAP launched Business ByDesign in 2007 and then re-launched it again in 2010 after a technology upgrade that added multitenancy. The product has struggled to gain traction over the years, and SAP said earlier this month that it's planning to limit the scope of Business ByDesign, halting development of additional industry-specific capabilities.

However, SAP isn't discontinuing Business ByDesign and will continue to add new functionality to the suite, Rainer Zinow, senior vice president of SAP's cloud business unit, told CRN last week.

SAP in May announced plans to focus development of nearly all its current and future products around its HANA in-memory database.

Oracle's new cloud ERP promotion is aimed at SAP customers who've had enough of Business ByDesign and are looking for alternatives. But, an SAP spokesperson insists the company remains committed to the product.

"The fact is we are re-factoring SAP ByDesign to run on the SAP HANA platform and will continue to support our customers and partners," the spokesperson said in an email, calling Oracle's promotion "a sad attempt to capitalize on inaccuracies reported last week in the media."

Still, there's no denying that Business ByDesign has had its share of issues. Last May at SAP's Sapphire Now conference, Lars Dalgaard, founder and CEO of SAP subsidiary SuccessFactors, gave an unvarnished assessment of the problems the suite has faced.

"It just hasn't been marketed right, it hasn't been positioned right, it hasn't been explained right, people haven't been trained right on it, people haven't been given [needed] tools," he said of Business ByDesign at the event. "There isn't much about it that I can explain that's gone right in terms of go-to-market."

At Oracle's annual financial analyst meeting in September, Larry Ellison described SAP's decision to focus its products on HANA as "an enormous mistake."

"Their core competency is in ERP and supply chain [applications] and things like that. I think this HANA thing is going to be a huge distraction for them. They have no chance whatsoever of competing with us on in-memory databases," Ellison said at the event.