• United States
by China Martens

Microsoft, SAP set to enhance productivity software

May 08, 20062 mins
CRM SystemsEnterprise ApplicationsERP Systems

Microsoft and SAP to launch combined Duet software next month.

Once their combined Duet software launches next month, Microsoft and SAP plan to issue regular releases of integration capabilities — dubbed scenarios — that will let users access data and processes more easily from SAP’s back-end business applications via Microsoft’s front-end desktop Office software suite.

Previously known as Project Mendocino, Duet for Microsoft Office and SAP Duet are expected to ship with four business scenarios focused on the individual worker. Those scenarios, covering time, leave and organization management, as well as budget monitoring, will integrate Office with SAP’s ERP software. “There will be multiple waves of scenarios,” says Shai Agassi, president of SAP’s product and technology group.

Two value packs with additional offerings are expected to appear in the third quarter and early in the fourth quarter of this year, respectively, Agassi says. The first pack will focus on organization management, and the second will have hooks into SAP’s CRM software. Future packages will include supply relationship management, process management and planning for manufacturing. Agassi didn’t say whether vertical scenarios for specific industries might also be forthcoming.

Microsoft and SAP plan to release development tools so third parties can create their own Duet scenarios, Agassi says. The vendors, however, have not yet decided on a release timetable for the tools, he says.

When SAP first announced Project Mendocino in April 2005, the company referred to it as the first joint product with Microsoft. When asked whether Duet is the first of several joint SAP and Microsoft offerings, Agassi said, “We’ll see how well it takes off.” Should Duet generate great returns, SAP may look at other jointly developed offerings, he added.

Agassi and Jeff Raikes, president of Microsoft’s business division, declined to provide pricing details for Duet or specifics about their respective costs and revenue sharing around the product.

The first early release of Duet was shipped to about 40 customers and 10 partners in December 2005, according to Agassi. This week, the second early release of Duet is scheduled to be sent to an additional 40 customers and 10 partners.

Raikes dismissed any potential conflict between the Duet tie-up with SAP and Microsoft’s stable of Dynamics ERP and CRM software. He positioned SAP as enterprise software and Dynamics as an offering for midsize companies.