SAP, Microsoft crank up Duet partnership

The two companies outline plans for Duet 2.0 and Duet 3.0, new versions of their joint business applications project.

SAP and Microsoft on Tuesday announced plans to expand their partnership for Duet software, setting the stage for the next versions of the business applications project.

Duet allows SAP's key business management applications to work with Microsoft Office. The companies said they plan to add several new features to Duet 2.0, which is expected to be released at the end of 2008. Duet 3.0 is slated for release after the next versions of SAP Business Suite and Microsoft Office debut, the companies said.

"Microsoft and SAP are embarking on a richer relationship with Duet 2.0 and 3.0," Leo Apotheker, SAP's deputy CEO, said at SAP's Sapphire '07 conference. "With this road map, we are adding new language support for the various country versions that will make Duet a much stronger application."

Duet 2.0 will use Microsoft's Office SharePoint Server as an extension for new and enhanced business scenarios. These scenarios will support sales and supply chain management, as well as unstructured processes, information and group collaboration, the companies said.

Despite the partnership, the companies admitted that SAP and Microsoft's Dynamics application division may occasionally duke it out for the same small to midsize customers.

"Microsoft will continue to develop Dynamics and we will continue to go after the midmarket with our product as well, and sometimes we will meet in the middle and wish each other well," Apotheker said.

Also during the conference, Henning Kagermann, SAP's chief executive, said the company's service-oriented architecture is yielding interest among customers and that the company has completed its five-year SOA product road map.

Given the completion of the SOA road map, the timing was right in changing SAP's management structure, Kagermann noted, referring to the resignation of Shai Agassi, SAP's head of technology.

"We took this opportunity to change what we wanted to change in recent months," Kagermann said. "We have changed back to a model where more managers and individuals are responsible for SOA on down."

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