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2/2/2011
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Microsoft And SAP Intro Duet Enterprise

Integration update aims to make it easier to expose SAP functionality through SharePoint so developers can quickly deliver user-friendly applications.

Think of Duet as the rehearsal and Duet Enterprise, released on Tuesday by Microsoft and SAP, as the polished performance.

The original Duet, introduced in 2005, had the same mission as Duet Enterprise: let SAP customers expose enterprise application functionality through familiar Microsoft front-end interfaces. But the initial performance didn't go so smoothly, as there were too many requirements to customize the behind-the-scenes architecture, according to Matt Towers, SAP Practice Director at integrator Avanade.

"That tended to derail a lot of clients because everybody's enterprise architecture is different," said Towers during the launch event. "Duet Enterprise provides the reference architecture, so we can spend the majority of our time solving the business problems."

Where Duet relied on Microsoft Exchange as a messaging server, Duet Enterprise adds SAP "Project Gateway" standards-based interfaces to expose application functionality through Microsoft SharePoint 2010 and Office 2010 productivity applications. Key capabilities include system management, single sign on, user authorization and management, information life cycle management and data model mapping. It exposes SAP workflows and reports through Microsoft's products, and SharePoint "MySite" profiles can be enriched with data from SAP HR applications.

Beta customer Sandvik Tooling used Duet Enterprise to expose SAP-based invoice approval workflows through SharePoint. The advantage, said Nevzat Ertan, Sandvik's chief technology officer, is that finance department employees who aren't trained on SAP can now handle exception invoices.

"We can provide easy access through the SharePoint dashboard without requiring users to go directly into SAP," Ertan said, adding that the implementation took six weeks.

To promote rapid deployment, configurable templates and process building blocks will be provided to help enterprise developers and ISVs to develop custom and vertical applications, the partners said. In addition, a Unite Partner Connection program introduced with the launch will coordinate Duet Enterprise support for tens of thousands of Microsoft and SAP channel partners. Duet Enterprise is available immediately. SAP and Microsoft did not disclose the cost of the product. The original Duet remains available and will be supported for customers using Microsoft Office 2003 and Office 2007, but the vendors say the product will not be enhanced.

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