I like the various blogs associated with my many hobbies and even those to do with work. I find them very useful and I was excited when the Business Intelligence Network invited me to write my very own blog. At last I now have somewhere to park all the various tidbits that I know are useful, but I am not sure what to do with. I am interested in a wide range of information technologies and so you might find my thoughts will bounce around a bit. I hope these thoughts will provoke some interesting discussions.
Colin White is the founder of BI Research and president of DataBase Associates Inc. As an analyst, educator and writer, he is well known for his in-depth knowledge of data management, information integration, and business intelligence technologies and how they can be used for building the smart and agile business. With many years of IT experience, he has consulted for dozens of companies throughout the world and is a frequent speaker at leading IT events. Colin has written numerous articles and papers on deploying new and evolving information technologies for business benefit and is a regular contributor to several leading print- and web-based industry journals. For ten years he was the conference chair of the Shared Insights Portals, Content Management, and Collaboration conference. He was also the conference director of the DB/EXPO trade show and conference.
Editor's Note: More articles and resources are available in Colin's BeyeNETWORK Expert Channel. Be sure to visit today!
Twelve months after first unveiling Project Mendocino, SAP and Microsoft have announced they will ship the first release of the product in June 2006. The product is officially named Duet Software for Microsoft Office and SAP. It is jointly developed, sold, marketed and supported by SAP and Microsoft. Nearly 100 joint customers and partners have been using the product in its early release form since late 2005.
Duet allows users to employ the Microsoft Office environment to access selected SAP applications. There are four main business processes support by Duet.
* Budget monitoring gives managers access to SAP financial data.
* Time management enables employees to record work and billable hours using their MS Outlook calendar, and then automatically synchronize MS Outlook with mySAP ERP.
* Leave management enables employees to submit personal leave requests and handle management approvals processes through MS Outlook, and then synchronize this information between the desktop and mySAP ERP.
* Organization management allows employees and managers to access SAP organizational information and human resources-related tasks in the MS Outlook environment.
SAP and Microsoft also announced plans to enhance the capabilities of Duet and to release additional business scenarios. In the second half of 2006, SAP and Microsoft will offer two value packs for Duet. These provide additional business scenarios, enhanced platform capabilities, and additional language support. These value packs will expose five additional mySAP ERP and mySAP CRM scenarios in MS Office. The scenarios are recruitment management, travel management, analytics, purchasing management and sales activity management. With these value packs, the capabilities of Duet will be extended beyond employee and manager self-service to include line-of-business operations. The value packs are designed for compatibility with the next release of mySAP ERP and Microsoft Office 2007. The Duet language support at this time will include English, French, German, Portuguese Spanish and Japanese.
A white paper on Duet can be found at www.sap.com/usa/solutions/duet/pdf/BWP_SB_Duet.pdf.
There are two interesting aspects to this announcement. First, it demonstrates the need for business users to be able to access business information through a collaborative environment such as Microsoft Office, in addition to a web-based interface like the SAP Enterprise Portal. Second, it shows that SAP and Microsoft are creating a powerful alliance that will be able to compete effectively against vendors like Oracle.