Jeff Raikes, President, Microsoft Business Division
REDMOND, Wash., April 24, 2007 – Microsoft and SAP today reinforced their commitment to empowering information workers worldwide with simplified access to the information and business processes through Microsoft Office. Today at SAP’s SAPPHIRE 2007 event, Jeff Raikes, president of Microsoft’s Business Division, joined Leo Apotheker, deputy CEO of SAP, to share the extended product roadmap for Duet software, a solution that allows information workers to interact with SAP business processes and data through Microsoft Office applications, including SharePoint. In the upcoming versions 2.0 – planned for 2008 – and 3.0 – planned for after the next generation of Microsoft Office and SAP Business Suite – both companies plan to enhance Duet with additional business scenarios, platform capabilities and development tools.
Raikes talked to PressPass about the significance of this announcement.
PressPass: What is significant about today’s Duet announcement from Microsoft and SAP?
Raikes: When we first set out with SAP to create and deliver the Duet product, we had aspirations of great things. Our customers share our excitement around the potential impact from Duet and today’s announcement signifies the long term commitment that Microsoft and SAP have made for Duet. Together we’re both expanding the functionality of Duet as well as transforming Duet from being just an application to an application that is very extendable allowing customers and partners to customize and enhance Duet to best meet the needs of their business.
PressPass: What does Duet mean for Microsoft?
Raikes: Our customers win; this is the real reason. But beyond that, as you have heard me talk about previously, a key part of the value proposition of the Microsoft Office system is its rich platform capabilities for Office Business Applications. Office Business Applications are designed to bridge the world of structured and unstructured work in a way that creates innovative new solutions that bridge the structured data and processes in an ERP system with the flexibility, ease of use, and collaboration capabilities of the Office System. With that combination, innovative new solutions for scenarios such as performance reviews, sales proposal creation, and financial analysis are possible – that helps people drive business success.
The other important point is that our customers want and expect us to work well with key industry partners like SAP. Working with SAP to help them better reach business users through enabling information access through Microsoft Office applications is a win-win situation for both companies.
PressPass: Tell us a little about the success of Duet to date.
Raikes: The first version of the solution has been in market just over one year and it’s had unprecedented adoption. Customer response has been incredibly positive. Together with SAP we have more than 250 customers with more than 400,000 user licenses. The partner community is as, if not more, enthusiastic and we are working hard together to train and accredit our partners with nearly 100 of them around the world already trained to help our customers.
We attribute this success to a few things. First, after meeting with dozens of customers it’s clear to us that they not only immediately see the value of Duet, they’re excited about the opportunities it creates for their people and businesses. Additionally, so many Fortune 500 global companies have bet their IT strategy on Microsoft and SAP, for us to come together and create a solution that bridges those investments is delivering on their needs in a way that individually we could not.
The partner ecosystem interest has also been incredible. Partners are most interested in the ability to extend and customize Duet, so this news, for them, is particularly exciting. With the new scenarios and increased support for SharePoint Sever in Duet 2.0 and a comprehensive set of developer tools for customization and to build new scenarios in Duet 3.0 we’re increasing the partner opportunity significantly.
PressPass: With this news, it seems that SharePoint plays an increasingly significant role in future versions of Duet. Why is that?
Raikes: We continue to see tremendous market momentum for Microsoft Office SharePoint Server with more than 85 million licenses. Microsoft Office has evolved so that the traditional client applications like Microsoft Excel and Outlook exist more and more on both the client and the server to enable new scenarios, and that server is Microsoft Office SharePoint. SAP and Microsoft together see the value in leveraging SharePoint for deeper collaboration capabilities and what we call “people-driven processes.” In Duet 2.0 you’ll see scenarios that will leverage SharePoint, and with Duet 3.0, SharePoint becomes a significant part of the platform for Duet.
PressPass: Is the success of Duet an indicator of more to come from the Microsoft and SAP partnership?
Raikes: Without a doubt, our customers want to see that happen. When two companies come together the way Microsoft and SAP have for Duet, it opens up a dialogue and an opportunity to learn from each other and identify ways to better serve a mutual customer base. We’re continuing to talk with SAP about both extending Duet as well as other opportunities where we can come together to better serve our customers.
PressPass: How should we think about Duet vis-à-vis Microsoft Business Solutions offerings?
Raikes: Customers have realized the value of accessing information and business processes in context and through the familiar Office interface and applications. Both Duet and Microsoft Dynamics share this approach for their respective customers. Duet is an excellent solution for SAP customers, enabling them to use the power of Office to unlock the data and processes managed by an SAP system. Microsoft Dynamics is using a similar approach with Office as a front end in a variety of configurations to deliver value to its customers.