SAP Business ByDesign, the cloud-based ERP system, has gained roughly 500 new feature enhancements and now leverages SAP HANA, the in-memory database technology. For channel partners and ERP integrators, support for SAP Solutions OnDemand Studio is particularly intereesting.

OnDemand Studio allows channel partners to write and publish cloud application extensions in a secure, controlled cloud framework, SAP asserts. Extensions can be published to the same cloud environment as SAP Business ByDesign, so that for customers, both the core system and unique extensions can be run together. 

For cloud integrators that's particularly interesting. When the typical customer has four or  more cloud services, integration issues usually become a top consideration for customer. Channel partners, in turn, can use frameworks like OnDemand Studio to address those integration issues -- at least in the world of SAP. 

Meanwhile, SAP claims to be gaining cloud momentum. When the company announced Q4 results on Jan. 23, 2013, SAP Co-CEOs Bill McDermott and Jim Hagemann Snable indicated:

"SAP’s strong cloud momentum continued in the fourth quarter: Derived from the total revenue of SAP’s two cloud segments (Cloud Applications and Ariba) the annual cloud revenue run rate is approaching €850 million. For the SAP cloud applications segment alone 12 month new and upsell subscription billings increased nineteenfold in the fourth quarter. Even when including SuccessFactors in SAP’s 2011 numbers the growth is triple digit at 102%. For SuccessFactors on a stand-alone basis, 12 month new and upsell subscription billings grew 95%." 

Recent SAP Business ByDesign adopters include Axel Springer AG, which leveragees the cloud suite across its corporate headquarters as well as subsidiaries in seven countries. 

Still, SAP continues to face intense competition. NetSuite, backed by Oracle's Larry Ellison, has been particularly vocal about winning cloud ERP business away from SAP's traditional on-premises deployments.