SAP AG and Microsoft Corp said they have sold 200,000 licensed seats of their jointly developed and marketed Duet product, which provides access to certain SAP back-office processes from with the Office environment, and have announced the release timescale for the next version of the software.
Launched three months ago, Duet aims to bridge the gap between desktop and enterprise applications and has been well received by the SAP customer base, but the 200,000 seats, estimated to represent about 1,000 companies, still represents a small proportion of SAP’s customer base which is currently in the range of 36,000.
Customers may be hanging back because the functionality is restricted to a small number of functions, or business scenarios as the two vendors call them. They could also be assessing the value of the much-delayed Microsoft Vista and Office 2007 before committing to the expense and potential disruption of widespread roll-out and end-user training. At its recent Convergence user conference Microsoft stressed that its new technologies, including its front-to-back-office integration would only really fly when all the new technology was used together, so a similar situation can be expected with Duet in that it will benefit significantly from Vista and Office 2007.
The current version of Duet requires a minimum of Office 2003, Exchange 2003, and XP or 2000, along with mySAP ERP 2004, although mySAP 2005 is needed to access all Duet functionality. Over the next 12 months Duet will be extended to provide support for Office 2007 and new business scenarios will be provided: travel management for simplifying travel planning and expense approval, sales management, and demand planning. This will extend Duet to the Excel environment for the first time.
Version 1.5 of Duet is scheduled for release in summer 2007 and will introduce further scenarios for purchasing management and recruiting, as well as tools for configuring and customizing supplied Duet scenarios to better fit individual customers’ requirements. One of the problems with Duet is that the business scenario scope is very limited. At the moment it is heavily admin-oriented and there are no facilities for organizations to create their own.