The flavor of the season seems to be RDS (Rapid Deployment Solution). But anyone familiar with the SAP marketplace will also be familiar with its earlier avatars-best practice templates, pre-configured templates and so on. Why this sudden fancy with RDS then? Well, I think it is a result of many factors.
Firstly, large 'soup to nuts' green field implementations have become a thing of the past, at least for the most part. Now, RDS as a concept is more amenable to be implemented in small chunks. Consequently, most RDSs are focused on sub-processes within various Lines of Business.
Secondly, SAP as an organization is pulling out all stops to promote RDS as a concept. The slew of RDS offerings in the marketplace needs to be seen to be believed. RDS solutions are not restricted to Line of Business solutions. They are cutting across processes, domain and technology. You have RDSs around HANA, mobility and even on something as new in the SAP stable as Crossgate.
Thirdly, everyone is rooting for low TCO, faster speed to market, low custom code, best practice templates, easy usability, agile implementation, et al. SAP is tapping into this mindset by aggressively promoting RDS as a concept across all its platforms. This is a win-win situation across the board. Customers get a deep and broad application like SAP at a lower cost and faster speed. After a quick launch and acceptance, they can expand the footprint in due course, budgets permitting. For SAP, it can effectively counter competition and reduce shelf ware.
I fundamentally believe that like HANA, Sybase and a couple of other strategic initiatives, SAP is beginning to get it right with RDS. For example,
- XML5 and other UI related initiatives eminently address usability needs
- HANA disruptively addresses performance needs
- Sybase and its tools are best in class mobility solutions; with Syclo in the bag as well, SAP has become the undisputed market leader in mobility
- Shorter software releases significantly transforms software upgrade and maintenance processes
- And now RDS.
To conclude, I think RDS might end up changing the way SAP and other tier 1 applications get implemented. The day may not be far when classical SAP implementation has to re-orient itself to an RDS based implementation methodology.