SAP and Microsoft Will Duet Again
SAP and Microsoft have taken their pairing a step further unveiling at SAPPHIRE '07 their time line for upgraded installments of Duet, a solution aimed at enabling organizations to tap into SAP business processes and data through Microsoft Office apps. Duet 1.5 is slated for release later this year, with Duet 2.0 expected by the end of 2008. Duet 3.0 is planned for release soon after the next generation of SAP Business Suite apps and Microsoft Office software, including the Microsoft Office SharePoint Server business productivity platform, according to the companies.
The road map comes one day after HP, Microsoft, and SAP highlighted an appliance for Duet that allows organizations to access SAP business processes and data through Microsoft Office apps on HP servers. "There's a tremendous opportunity for us to be working together on your behalf," said Jeff Raikes, president of the Microsoft Business division. "When it comes to our enterprise customers and what you're doing in business applications and business processes, the most important partnership we have is with SAP. Duet is a great example of that partnership. It's a great symbol of what we can to do add value to what you're doing in order to have your business excel."
Raikes noted support for recruiting management, purchasing management, and legal contract management as some of the enhanced functionality that will be included in Duet 1.5. Duet 2.0 and Duet 3.0 will feature enhanced and new business scenario support for sales and supply chain management, and other business scenarios, enabling sales professionals to manage sales leads and opportunities within SAP CRM from Microsoft Office, according to the companies.
Another core component is functionality focused on extensibility. "We'll be providing an environment that includes key tools for configuration and customization and ultimately development tools to be able to build your own Duet scenarios," Raikes said. About 400,000 licenses for Duet were sold in less than a year, according to the companies. Duet is "getting closer to having one pane of glass for a knowledge worker," says Steve Strout, director-at-large at Morris Communications and incoming executive vice president of Americas' SAP Users' Group (ASUG). "The ability to have one place to go that is deeply tied to how people actually do business."
Collaboration will also play heavily in the releases. "What I think we've learned together is that we can really increase the value that you get from your SAP investment in your organization when you can get well connected to what people do every day with their Microsoft tools, with their SharePoint collaboration environments," Raikes said. "We want to make sure that you can take full advantage of Office 2007, and so even with version 1.5 we're going to...[push] that area. But in particular one of the most exciting parts...is that we'll be working together on SharePoint, how that will be able to integrate and extend scenarios in version 2.0 and become a foundation for greater collaboration and connection of structure and collaborative work in 3.0."
Leo Apotheker, deputy CEO and president of customer solutions and operations, echoed SAP's efforts surrounding collaboration and joint innovation. "What we aspire to achieve are world-class end-to-end solutions," he said. "Like on the application side, we also understand that we cannot innovate everything here ourselves as well, so we want to coinnovate with our partners. Our service portfolio will extend from assessment to benchmarking, to planning and implementation, to mission critical support, to training and certification, to solution managers, that offer the holistic view of the entire portfolio. And like on the application side we also understand that we cannot innovate everything here ourselves as well so we want to coinnovate with our partners."
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