Microsoft and SAP continue to get
cozier as they combat Oracle and other rivals.
Using their service-oriented architecture (SOA) models as a base, the
partners said they are jointly developing a new composite application that
hooks SAP business process software into Microsoft Office applications.
Code-named Mendocino, the
software will help corporate employees quickly manage corporate information
from their desktops. Clients will use SAP’s business software to manage
organization, budgets, travel and expenses from Office, using Outlook
e-mail, Excel and other applications, SAP spokesman Bill Wohl said.
While customers have previously been able to take an Excel spreadsheet out
of an SAP report, or see alerts come into the SAP portal from Microsoft,
Mendocino represents the next level of integration between the companies’
Wohl used the example of a corporate employee who wanted to make a vacation
request using the Mendocino software. Typically, she wants to take a
vacation, she enters the dates in her Outlook calendar. Then she exits
Microsoft Office and goes into her self-service human resource feature for
SAP to start a workflow process that sends the vacation request to her boss.
But this is two separate processes, involving two separate applications,
Wohl said. With Mendocino, when the employee goes into her Outlook calendar
and opens an event, she can flag it as a vacation request. When she saves
that as an event, Mendocino will open up the workflow and automatically send
a vacation request to her boss, starting a process.
“If you can think about someone doing that hundreds if not thousands of
times a year and you replicate that across an enterprise, think of the
productivity savings,” Wohl said in a press conference from SAP’s Sapphire
international customer conference in Copenhagen, Denmark.
SAP will resell Microsoft Office and Microsoft will resell licenses to SAP’s
business process platform, available in 2006. The new product will be
offered to select customers for early access in the fourth quarter this
The deal is also significant because it relies on the SOA (define)
approaches of SAP’s enterprise services architecture (ESA) and Microsoft’s
.NET platform to integrate the two companies’ technologies. The pact offers
more tangible proof that distributed computing models are here to stay.
With the deal, Microsoft and SAP will bolster their positions versus rival
Oracle, the second-largest business applications player since acquiring
PeopleSoft last year. Though SAP easily leads the applications market, the
company has been in a tug-of-war with Oracle in the space ever since Oracle
consummated the deal.
On that score, Wohl took a swipe at Oracle, noing that the software maker is
trying to get out the starting block with defining its vision of an SOA.
“While they have laid out an ambitious agenda for what they’re calling
they still have a couple of years before they deliver this product to the
market,” Wohl said.