SAP released the latest set of features Thursday in SAP Business ByDesign, the German company’s Software-as-a-Service enterprise resource planning product.

The Web-based software is also now available for Australia and Mexico and includes Spanish language support. Mobile support for ByDesign will be extended to Windows Phone 7 devices. The latest feature pack, version 3.0, for SAP Business ByDesign delivers new enhancements, including community-driven enhancements, based on feedback from partners and users.

Additional professional service features include customer contract management, support for managed services and enhanced revenue recognition automation. The software is more customizable to allow business partners and customers to adapt it to their needs. It also now supports automated procurement processes between subsidiaries and corporate headquarters.

“With ByDesign, it’s not like we built another ERP system,” said Frank Iannotti, North America vice president for Business ByDesign. “We have taken enterprise class functionality to where average organization can take advantage. You also get state of the art business intelligence with zero configuration needed. There are three major areas of opportunity for us. Those outgrowing QuickBooks, mid-tier companies looking at massive upgrades and seeing cloud alternatives, and large enterprises where [SAP] already has a large installed base, so we are very excited about Business ByDesign now and going forward.”

Iannotti is encouraged by the growth of the North American partner channel for ByDesign, which is now approximately 100. Partner growth for the product occurred at such a rapid rate that SAP recently had to curtail its recruiting efforts.

“We had a team of 50 people in the U.S. and Canada who were incubating our [ByDesign] channel,” said SAP North America senior vice president of ecosystems and channels Kevin Gilroy. “They’ve done a great job of recruiting, maybe too good, so we overwhelmed the enablement team a bit. We were outselling the capacity to enable, but the team will be green-lit again in the next few weeks.”

Gilroy also expects that even the current base of 100 North American ByDesign partners will be reduced somewhat due to “some natural culling.”

In addition, Gilroy noted that he realizes many traditional VARs struggle with the idea of selling a cloud service, and it takes time to “build up a pipeline of business,” but once they do, the return “can be huge.”

“Normally in on-premises [software], you sell licenses, they bill, you get paid in 45 days, and there are working capital requirements,” said Gilroy. “But with the cloud, revenues come in over time, so costs come in before revenue comes in, until you hit a critical mass of volume. Many traditional VARs struggle with this plan. To pay a rep today with revenues over the next 24 months is not an easy sell. For some partners, until they get their critical mass, it’s hard, but the partner of the very near future must have the ability to do managed services and cloud services. That’s the key to success.”

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