19 November, 2009

New announcement on Duet Enterprise

There has been a new announcement from Microsoft on the Duet product. The product, which is a joint effort between SAP and Microsoft, has been slightly rebranded to be called Duet Enterprise. Duet Enterprise promises to deliver standard SAP functionality to business users through their day-to-day productivity tools such as Outlook and SharePoint.

The main difference from previous versions of the product is that Duet Enterprise is based on a fundamentally new architecture leveraging SharePoint 2010 as the middleware component. The cornerstone feature of SharePoint which facilitates the integration is the Business Connectivity Services (BCS). The symmetric architecture of the BCS will underpin communication between SAP and SharePoint as well as directly between SAP and the Office clients. The BCS also provides the client-side infrastructure that will enable offline support, effectively allowing business users to access and manipulate SAP data outside of network connectivity.

To start planning for a Duet Enterprise roadmap, we require the next level of detail in terms of functionality provided out-of-the-box and what is possible through the promised Software Development Kit (SDK). I expect the standard functionality to be an improved version of the scenarios available in the current version of Duet, but more importantly it will be crucial to understand what will be possible through the accompanying SDK. The lack of an SDK is one of the main limitations of Duet in its current incarnation.

The details on functionality and SDK are still to be released. This announcement does not provide much other than a commitment to the product from SAP and Microsoft. But there is now a public statement on a timeframe that will see the product released in the second half of 2010 and there appears to be a strong focus on providing a toolset that will allow us to go far beyond the pre-packaged solutions. Furthermore, it is great to see such a strong commitment to SharePoint from SAP.

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