Nearly 100 joint customers and partners, including Atmel and Infosys, have been exploring the software’s benefits in early release versions since late 2005. SAP and Microsoft also announced plans to enhance the capabilities of Duet this year and to release additional business scenarios in the second half of 2006. Duet allows information workers to use their familiar Microsoft Office environment to access selected SAP business processes and data. This improved and flexible access to dedicated SAP application functionality will help companies who use Duet save time and money, increase process compliance and improve decision making.
Each day, millions of information workers use the Microsoft Office System to work and collaborate. However, most of them also must tap into enterprise processes and information in order to do their jobs. Lacking a unified link between a company’s structured business processes and accurate information can lead to unsound decision-making and non-compliance with company policies. With Duet, companies can increase user adoption of enterprise systems and business processes by offering a familiar environment that is rapidly deployable and requires virtually no training.
“When people are unaware that information exists or lack the time to find what is needed, they risk making bad decisions,” said Mark Levitt, VP for IDC’s collaboration and enterprise workplace research. “Duet is a business mashup of Microsoft Office applications with SAP enterprise information and processes that can improve the quality and speed of decision making and workforce productivity. With Duet, SAP will be easier to access and more relevant for many more users who spend their workdays in the ‘Microsoft’ Office.”
Early successes with Duet
Nearly 100 customers and partners participated in the Duet preview program, including Atmel, a worldwide leader in the design and manufacture of microcontrollers, advanced logic, mixed-signal, nonvolatile memory and radio frequency (RF) components. Utilizing Duet’s budget monitoring scenario support, Atmel expects to drive enhanced data transparency and information sharing across the global organization to achieve greater business process efficiencies and productivity. “Duet brings together our Microsoft and SAP environments in a seamless manner, empowering our information workers with greater visibility and access to SAP business data, including financial reporting, from a widely used and familiar user interface,” said Mikes Sisois, vice president of Planning/IT and CIO, Atmel. “For Atmel, this is a tremendous value add, as it enables smarter decision making, and in turn, higher productivity.”
Partners of both SAP and Microsoft in the systems integrators and solution providers space have also participated in the Duet preview program and are eagerly anticipating Duet’s availability. “At Infosys, we have tested and implemented the Duet software within our own business, which runs on Microsoft and SAP software,” said Chandrashekar Kakal, head of Infosys’ Enterprise Solutions Business Unit. “Our clients demand results from their IT investments and rely on Infosys to deliver. With our long-standing alliance partners, Microsoft and SAP, Infosys is uniquely positioned and ready to offer Duet-based solutions to our clients to address their business needs.”
Helping companies improve visibility and compliance
Duet is jointly developed, sold, marketed and supported by SAP and Microsoft. Today, the companies kicked off a joint marketing campaign including worldwide advertising in leading business publications and a joint Website where customers can learn more about the product and about a joint global 13-city road show, which begins June 13, 2006. Duet delivers significant value to organizations and their employees, and currently enables companies to gain more control.
- Budget monitoring: Gives managers seamless access to the financial data they need to make better decisions.
- Time management: Enables employees to record work and billable hours using their MS Outlook calendar, and automatically synchronizes and updates MS Outlook appointments with mySAP ERP, the SAP application for enterprise resource planning (ERP).
- Leave management: Enables employees to submit personal leave requests and handle management approvals processes through MS Outlook, thereby enabling data synchronization and process compliance between the desktop and mySAP ERP.
- Organization management: Allows employees and managers to access organization information and human resources-related tasks in the familiar Outlook environment.
Expanded product road map
In the second half of 2006, SAP and Microsoft plan to offer two value packs for Duet, providing additional business scenario support, enhanced platform capabilities and language support. These value packs will expose five additional scenarios in MS Office coming from mySAP ERP and mySAP Business Suite applications for customer relationship management (CRM) and supplier relationship management (SRM). The scenarios are: recruitment management, travel management, analytics, purchasing management and sales activity management. With these value packs, capabilities of Duet will go beyond self-service for employees and managers to enable line-of-business operational efficiencies and cost savings. The value packs are designed for compatibility with the next release of mySAP ERP and the 2007 release of Microsoft Office System, and will expand language support to include English, French, German, Portuguese Spanish and Japanese.
“With Duet, SAP and Microsoft are delivering a people-ready solution for our joint customers, which gives decision makers improved access to the information they need to be effective,” said Jeff Raikes, president of Microsoft Business Division. “Additionally, Duet allows for both online and offline access to SAP business processes from a ubiquitous, easy-to-use Office environment. Duet will make complex tasks simple and simple tasks nearly effortless. This version of Duet is just the first outcome in what we expect to be a highly effective alliance from our two companies.”
“For the past fifteen years, SAP and Microsoft have worked together to bring first-rate solutions to customers,” said Shai Agassi, president of the Product and Technology Group and executive board member, SAP AG. “Duet extends this collaboration, bringing together the productivity environment most used by information workers with the applications most used by the enterprise. With Duet, information workers will have better visibility into enterprise information and increase their efficiency, allowing them to make faster and more accurate decisions by making enterprise processes more accessible.”