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For Content & Collaboration Professionals

November 24, 2010

A New Duet Drives Critical Integration

by rob Koplowitz with Matthew Brown and Joseph Dang

Microsoft And SAP Duets New vision For The Information Workplace In SharePoint

Microsoft = knowledge worker software. SAP = business process. Despite extensive effort on the part of each vendor to encroach on the others turf, this high-level analysis still holds. Hence, the logic of these two companies working together to span two disparate worlds makes sense. Duet, a joint initiative designed to bridge SAP data and processes with Microsoft Office productivity applications, failed to launch in its first iteration. Now the companies have re-engineered and have introduced a new Duet offering called Duet Enterprise. This new product focused on extending SAP from Microsoft SharePoint. This new emphasis is highly aligned with Forresters view of the Information Workplace value proposition. Content and collaboration pros with strategic commitments to Microsoft and SAP should take a close look at the new focus of Duet Enterprise. Content, CommuniCations, Collaboration in business ProCess Context Pity the poor worker who straddles the world of SAP and Microsoft. A salesperson responding to a complex opportunity would need to concurrently access SAP customer relationship manager (CRM) for business data and to maintain account records, SharePoint for accessing proposals and contracts, Lync to connect to co-workers in real time through instant messaging, Web conferencing and voice over IP, and likely numerous other tools as well. The result is constant switching between applications, followed by browsing and searching to find the right information. More likely, the poor salesperson relies on SAP and email and ignores the myriad of collaboration tools available because the effort to move between applications is higher than the perceived business value.1 This is in stark contrast to Forresters definition of an Information Workplace: A software strategy that drives knowledge worker efficiency through the integration of commonly used applications like content management, collaboration, communications, enterprise social, and business application functionality through an integrated, contextual user experience. With Duet Enterprise, SAP business data and processes surface in SharePoint, in proper context and with related content, contacts, and communication tools integrated into a cohesive user experience (see Figure 1). Within this environment, some of the functionality that a worker can access includes:

Core application access. SAP data is brought into the SharePoint environment through a

SharePoint facility called Business Connectivity Services (BCS). An add-in called Duet Enterprise augments BCS and handles the specific characteristics of the SAP/SharePoint environment. As part of this solution SAP has also enabled simplified access to SAP data and processes through a SAP NetWeaver add-on.
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Microsoft And SAP Duets New vision For The Information Workplace In SharePoint
For Content & Collaboration Professionals

Presence and real-time collaboration. Once the business content is in SharePoint, integration with
Microsoft Lync provides presence information and access to instant messaging, Web conferencing, application sharing, and software-based VoIP and video. The environment flags all contacts with presence information so connecting to experts is seamless from within the application.

Content. SharePoint stores relevant content, and Duet Enterprise surfaces content in the

context of the business process. For example, in a sales scenario, proposals, quotes, and contracts related to a given account are automatically surfaced in context. This reduces the need to open a separate application and search for content.

Collaboration and social. SharePoint collaboration workspaces, My Sites (profiles), and social

capabilities like blogs, wikis, and communities are also available in context. The example shown in the figure, accessing additional content and expertise through a community of experts dedicated to a topic, could support the salespersons activities described above.

Figure 1 SAP Data Wrapped With Microsoft Content, Collaboration, And Communications


Real-time collaboration

Content management Business content

Source: Contoso Electronics

58055 Source: Forrester Research, Inc.

November 24, 2010

2010, Forrester Research, Inc. Reproduction Prohibited

Microsoft And SAP Duets New vision For The Information Workplace In SharePoint
For Content & Collaboration Professionals

SAP remains the dominant business application vendor, and Microsoft is the leader in productivity applications and collaboration as well as becoming increasingly relevant in portal and content management. By working together in productive integration through Duet Enterprise, they are relevant in the Information Workplace conversation for a number of reasons:

For many organizations, these are the two most strategic software vendors. If SAP is a
primary vendor for business applications used to automate operational and transactional processes in your organization and you are invested in Microsoft collaboration products, particularly SharePoint, Duet Enterprise provides a valuable bridge.

SAP and Microsoft have handled a lot of tough integration challenges. The promise of

integrating collaboration and business systems has been around for a while, and the challenge has been that integration is never a simple proposition. In this instance, the problem of integration has been taken on by the vendors: on the Microsoft side via SharePoint, BCS, and the Duet Enterprise add-on; and on the SAP side with an SAP NetWeaver add-on.

The value proposition of a combined solution is greater than the two separate ones. While

we recognize the value of automating transactional and operational processes, human-centric processes have generally been left out of the equation. For example, exception handling has generally been done by knowledge workers offline. By integrating core business systems with knowledge worker-centric systems like collaboration, content management, and communications, the promise of even greater efficiency is evident as human latency can be more easily identified and automated.

R E C o M M E N D AT I o N S

iF miCrosoFt and saP are Key strategiC Vendors, eValuate duet

Microsoft and SAP continue to invest in Duet and the value proposition is taking hold. This will certainly have an impact on your Information Workplace strategy. When planning an Information Workplace strategy, content and collaboration professionals should consider:

if youre saP and microsoft shop, get to know this strategy. Duet has had a slow start, but
the relationship and commitment to providing an integrated solution remains strong. Part of the commitment is recognition that firms committed to both vendors are probably deeply invested for the foreseeable future. With this in mind, it is likely that the commitment to Duet will continue. This means a buy rather than build scenario for your Information Workplace strategy that requires evaluation.

assess your information Workplace strategy with duet enterprise in mind. If you are
invested in an Information Workplace strategy or in the process of developing one, consider the opportunity presented by Duet. By taking advantage of the integration work done by

November 24, 2010

2010, Forrester Research, Inc. Reproduction Prohibited

Microsoft And SAP Duets New vision For The Information Workplace In SharePoint
For Content & Collaboration Professionals

SAP and Microsoft, you could shorten the road to capturing business value and lower costs associated with integration and customization that you may otherwise need to do yourself. For organizations that drive their business primarily on SAP applications and are committed to SharePoint, this could represent an anchor for your overall Information Workplace strategy.

assess potential overlap. Portal, collaboration, content management, and communication

applications may already exist in your organization, perhaps in overabundance. As you consider the implications of embracing Duet, consider the potential for overlapping technologies. If you are invested in an IBM Lotus direction, the overlap between WebSphere, Lotus, and SharePoint will require attention if you are looking to optimize costs.


In Q3 2010 Forrester surveyed 5,498 North American and European technology users as part of the Workforce Forrsights Survey. Despite significant investment and deployment only 32% responded that they used instant messaging, 19% team workspaces, and a mere 8% used social media tools. Source: Forrsights Workforce Employee Survey, Q3 2010.

Forrester Research, Inc. (Nasdaq: FORR) is an independent research company that provides pragmatic and forward-thinking advice to global leaders in business and technology. Forrester works with professionals in 19 key roles at major companies providing proprietary research, customer insight, consulting, events, and peer-to-peer executive programs. For more than 27 years, Forrester has been making IT, marketing, and technology industry leaders successful every day. For more information, visit 2010, Forrester Research, Inc. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited. Information is based on best available resources. Opinions reflect judgment at the time and are subject to change. Forrester, Technographics, Forrester Wave, RoleView, TechRadar, and Total Economic Impact are trademarks of Forrester Research, Inc. All other trademarks are the property of their respective companies. To purchase reprints of this document, please email For additional information, go to 58055