SAP and Microsoft forge product alliance


26 Apr 2005

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COPENHAGEN: IT giants Microsoft and SAP are jointly developing a new product, code-named 'Mendocino', that aims to bridge the divide between Microsoft desktop applications such as Outlook and SAP enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems.

The announcement was made earlier today at Sapphire, SAP's international customer and media event in Copenhagen.

Noting that it was the first time that the companies had come together to co-develop new technology, Henning Kagermann, CEO of SAP, said: “This is one of the breakthroughs in our industry.”

Jeff Raikes, group vice-president, Information Worker Business, Microsoft, said the new product would help to link the “disconnected universes” of enterprise applications and desktop workers. “It will extend the reach of mySAP processes onto the desktop and right into the hands of information workers,” he said. The product, which is being jointly designed, developed, marketed and supported by the two software firms, is due for launch in the fourth quarter, 2005.

Kagermann said the integration of enterprise and desktop applications has been an aspiration of SAP customers for a long time and one of the most frequently requested capabilities. “They are asking why is there still this gap between enterprise and desktop tools, why there are no links between the two. Now Microsoft and SAP are going forward and bridging that gap.”

'Mendocino' will integrate SAP processes–such as time management, budget monitoring, organisational management and travel and expense management–directly into Microsoft Office. For example, with the new product, information workers will be able to use extended application menus and select process options and information in the SAP-specific smart pane that opens within Outlook, synchronise information between Microsoft Exchange Server and SAP, retrieve SAP information in Microsoft Excel and submit data via Microsoft Office InfoPath forms.

One of the first users of the new technology will be German automotive industry supplier Siemens VDO. The company hopes that the integration of Microsoft Office with SAP’s ERP platform will help information workers track and manage their time while giving supervisors access to complete and accurate employee information to produce timely billings and maintain tight budget control.

Mendocino will be the first product to have been jointly developed by Microsoft and SAP since the two companies agreed to collaborate last year and build a bridge between their separate technology platforms, SAP Netweaver and Dot Net.

By Brian Skelly