The two companies have sold over 200,000 licensed seats in just three months. Customers worldwide – including AEPEX Business Consultants, a Dutch services company, and resource informatik ag, a Swiss services company – have already deployed Duet and experienced fast rollout cycles. Value packs will be made available over the next 12 months that include support for 2007 Microsoft Office system, as well as additional business scenarios. Microsoft and SAP also announced the planned release of Duet 1.5, targeted for summer 2007, that will include additional business scenarios, as well as tools for configuring and customizing the Duet scenarios to match customer needs even better. The announcement was made at Microsoft TechEd: IT Forum, being held in Barcelona, Spain, Nov. 14-17. “We have seen significant traction and market momentum with Duet over the second half of 2006,” said Udo Waibel, senior vice president of emerging solutions, SAP. “Together we are committed to drive success for our customers by constantly gathering feedback and continuing to innovate so that Duet meets their business needs.”
Each day, millions of information workers use the Microsoft Office system to work and collaborate, while also separately tapping into SAP enterprise processes and business data in order to do their jobs. Duet provides a unified link between a company’s structured business processes and information in mySAP ERP and the end user’s Microsoft Office environment, enabling improved decision making and greater compliance with company policies. “Increasingly, users are demanding greater integration between the productivity software and the business processes they use every day,” said Yvonne Genovese, research vice president, Gartner, Inc. “Tools that allow for the configuring and customizing of those processes will best answer this call by putting users in the center of an environment that meets their varied needs in a flexible and dynamic way.”
Early Customer Momentum with Duet
With Duet, companies can increase information worker adoption of enterprise systems and business processes by offering a familiar environment that is rapidly deployable and requires virtually no training. For example, AEPEX Business Consultants – headquartered in the Netherlands – has started a rollout of Duet across its entire organization. For AEPEX’s business consultants, efficient time entry is a critical business function to ensure on-time and accurate billing cycles and customer satisfaction. With Duet, AEPEX employees can quickly and easily report time in their Microsoft Outlook calendar and it will automatically be synched with the corresponding SAP software on the back end. As a result of this new business functionality, AEPEX expects to save time and money by reducing hours and resources spent on data entry, and improving accuracy and billing efficiencies to drive enhanced customer loyalty.
“We have chosen to deploy Duet as it will allow us to re-use existing information within Microsoft Office and seamlessly integrate that with our crucial back-end process for time-entry and customer billing, which is in SAP,” said Wouter van der Veen, managing partner, AEPEX Business Consultants. “With no need for time-consuming and costly training, we expect our employees to begin utilizing this new tool to achieve immediate new business efficiencies.”
Another leading European services company, resource informatik, has deployed Duet to help synchronize information to improve decision-making across the organization. Duet supports information workers across the organization by making SAP project management data easily accessible for its consultants and providing timely sales forecast reports. After a deployment timeframe of less than one month, resource informatik went live on Duet in September 2006. “Duet was quick and easy to deploy, and we are already witnessing return on our investment,” said Bruno Schmid, CEO, resource informatik. “It allows us to take advantage of the omnipresent and familiar Microsoft Office user interface, and marry that with the strong business process automation capabilities of SAP to increase productivity and enable rapid decision-making.”
Product roadmap includes support for 2007 Office system
Over the next 12 months, SAP and Microsoft will offer several value packs for Duet, providing support for 2007 Office system, enhanced platform capabilities and language support. One of the value packs will also expose three additional business scenarios connecting Microsoft Office and mySAP Business Suite applications. These new scenarios are as follows:
- Travel Management for simplifying travel planning and expense approval via Outlook
- Sales Management for intuitive access to customer contact and sales-based analytics, as well as easy scheduling of customer activities
- Demand Planning for simplifying supply chain demand planning via Microsoft Excel
In addition to the forthcoming value packs, both companies announced the release of Duet 1.5, which will deliver additional business scenarios for purchasing management and recruiting, and will provide expanded tools for configuring and customizing Duet scenarios. “Our growing partnership with SAP reflects our commitment to helping information workers today who expect their disparate systems to work together in a more seamless and simplistic manner,” said Parichay Saxena, general manager of development, Microsoft. “Early customer interest and adoption further supports our plans to jointly deliver powerful new product capabilities – both business scenarios and customization tools – in 2007 and beyond”.