Microsoft and SAP Talk Duet Roadmap, Tap HP for Appliance
Published: April 25, 2007
by Alex Woodie
Microsoft and SAP have big plans for Duet, the product that turns Microsoft Office into an interface for SAP's enterprise applications. At SAP's user conference this week, the partners unveiled details of the Duet product roadmap, including Duet 2.0 and Duet 3.0, neither of which will be available for more than a year. The companies also announced a deal with Hewlett-Packard to deliver a ProLiant server preloaded with Duet server.
Microsoft and SAP first unveiled plans for Duet as a project codenamed "Mendocino" in April 2005, then shipped the first release of the product last May. Microsoft has also embarked upon the Office-ication of its own Dynamics ERP suites, which it calls the Dynamics Client for Microsoft Office.
Since Duet shipped about a year ago, it has been adopted by more than 250 organizations around the world, for a total of 400,000 Duet licenses. These sound like impressive numbers, and they are, but they're dwarfed by the sheer size of SAP's installed base, which currently numbers 38,000 organizations and tens of millions of users. There is plenty of room for Duet to grow.
Buoyed by this initial success, the two tech titans decided to give attendees of SAP's Sapphire conference in Atlanta this week a glimpse into Duets to come. The expected goodies include new Office hooks into SAP's sales, supply chain, and customer relationship management software; new Duet facilities for streamlining purchasing and the management of legal contracts; and regulatory compliance and risk management capabilities.
But the most promising bit revolves around plans to weave Office SharePoint Server, the tip of Microsoft's collaborative spear, into the Duet fold. Support for SharePoint is critical for giving SAP users the capability to manage unstructured processes and data from an Excel spreadsheet or the Outlook e-mail client, via SharePoint Server. A series of new "scenario templates" and associated development tools will support this endeavor.
Jeff Raikes, president of Microsoft's Business Division, provided more details on the delivery milestones for the integration of SharePoint into Duet. "In Duet 2.0 you'll see scenarios that will leverage SharePoint, and with Duet 3.0, SharePoint becomes a significant part of the platform for Duet," Raikes says in a PressPass Q&A. Raikes also left the door open for other potential ways Microsoft and SAP could leverage Duet, or deliver other Duet-like capabilities.
Duet 2.0 is planned for the end of 2008, while Duet 3.0 is planned to be released "soon after the next generation of SAP Business Suite applications and Microsoft Office software, including Microsoft Office SharePoint Server," which presumably means 2009 or 2010.
In the near term, SAP users or business partners who are interested in getting started with Duet will find a new solution available from HP. The new appliance offering, which goes by the awkward name "Duet by SAP and Microsoft, powered by HP" is a ProLiant server that has been preinstalled with Duet software and scripts designed to get customers quickly up and running with custom data in proof of concept projects.
HP says customers' initial deployments of Duet appliances can be scaled outward by adding additional ProLiant servers or even high-end Protegrity servers to the original box. The Duet appliance will ship in North America in June.
Microsoft Unveils 'Duet'-Like Interface, New ERP Releases
SAP-Microsoft Collaboration Produces 'Duet'
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