Microsoft and SAP have released Duet Enterprise, which aims to provide greater harmony between SharePoint 2010 and the German software maker's enterprise resource planning products.
The move recasts the companies' original Duet partnership, announced in 2005, which focused on integrating the enterprise resource planning (ERP) line-up with Microsoft Office tools. The new collaboration, unveiled on Tuesday, shifts the focus to SharePoint 2010.
"Customers and partners have frequently requested deeper integration between their two leading IT solutions from SAP and Microsoft," Microsoft SharePoint general manager Eric Swift said in a statement.
"Duet Enterprise delivers on that need by combining the power of the SharePoint business collaboration platform and the familiarity of Microsoft Office 2010 applications with... business process solutions from SAP," he said.
The new focus should help the partners present a more substantial stack of business software, according to Forrester analyst Rob Koplowitz.
"Everybody understands the value of connecting back-end structured data and process to front-end, unstructured ad-hoc process — we've been talking about that for a number of years. You've got the ubiquity of SharePoint, and you've got the programmability of the front-end. So once I get the SAP data in there, I can do a lot of interesting things with it," Koplowitz said.
However, he contends that Duet Enterprise is not a direct response to pressure from packages from competitors such as Oracle.
"Microsoft and SAP have thrown in together to leverage the ubiquity of SharePoint on the front-end, to really drive more value for the SAP customer base," Koplowitz said. "Ultimately, what they're trying to accomplish is quite similar [to Oracle's approach with Fusion applications], but I'm not sure that I would call it a response. They've both been working away on parallel tracks."
Unite Partner Connection
Alongside the Duet Enterprise announcement, SAP and Microsoft introduced a programme called the SAP-Microsoft Unite Partner Connection. This is designed to provide sales and marketing support, as well as technical training, to members of the SAP PartnerEdge programme and the Microsoft Partner Network. Initial participants include Atos Origin, Logica and Wipro.
"The announcements around real-world activities with partners building specific pre-integrated solutions really caught my attention," Koplowitz said. "They're very interesting, and have some real value. But more interesting than that, the system integrators doing this are doing it as a repeatable process that can be used again in the future."
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