SAP and Microsoft Present Duet Roadmap

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 |  Includes: MSFT, SAP
by: Dan Farber

SAP (NYSE:SAP) and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) revealed an extended roadmap for Duet, which integrates Microsoft Office with  SAP business processes and data. Duet 1.5 will be available later this year, and will include additional scenario templates.

Duet 2.0 is slated for the end of 2008 and will have deeper scenarios, with more functionality in terms of what users will have access to, such as project management, said Jeff Raikes, president of Microsoft's Business Division (below right). In addition, Microsoft SharePoint Server will to be used as optional extension to Duet scenarios, Raikes said. SharePoint extensions will allow Duet to integrate more unstructured processes and information and collaboration scenarios. 

Version 2.0 scenarios could include sales and lead management scenarios, managing SAP CRM from within Office; supply chain scenario templates; governance, risk and compliance scenarios; and enhanced reporting and analysis. Duet 2.0 will also support more languages and country versions.

Duet 3.0 is scheduled for release the next generation along with the next generation of SAP Business Suite applications and Microsoft's Office System. "With Duet 3.0 SharePoint will become a foundation element and prerequisite of what we do. As get closer, we will come out with more details," Raikes said. Version 3.0 is also expected to have a software development kit.

To date, Duet has more than 250 customers and 400,000 licenses sold since the product was introduced in last year.

As I discovered yesterday, the SAP-Microsoft co-development on Duet has not been easy. Dennis Moore, who has been in charge of the Duet project, said that working with Microsoft on Duet has been a challenge.

"Our focus on the customer is somehow different from Microsoft's. We don't have a common understanding," Moore said. "A minority at Microsoft thought we could somehow control access to data by pulling it into a file and using Microsoft DRM." SAP's security is far too granular to support Microsoft's idea, he said. "Microsoft's assumption is that software has to be capable of being installed and run without support. There are certainly areas where we are learning from each other." 

SAP and Microsoft compete on the application side, with Microsoft Dynamics and SAPs similar products, but executives from both companies said it wouldn't impact Duet development. "The key principle here is that customers want to get more value out of ERP systems and leverage their familiarity with Microsoft Office," said Raikes, adding that Office reaches 500 million users. "We took a major step together with SAP two years ago and the customer demand is great. The Dynamics group is looking at how Office can enhance access to business processes."

Leo Apotheker, deputy CEO of SAP, said, "We have a joint product to bridge the two worlds. Microsoft will continue to develop Dynamics and we wish them good luck. Every so often we meet in the market and act as fair and honest competitors and it will not have any impact on Duet."