I asked a question in Jason Wood’s blog some days back to Dennis Moore, General Manager, SAP and the father of Duet. I asked him why SAP chose to use IBF framework from Microsoft to build Duet, when there were existing, stable alternatives such as Office Add-in interfaces that could be coupled easily with SAPs ESA framework for providing MS Office integration. No answer yet.
I am not surprised by his silence. It is a tough one,
By choosing IBF as the development platform for Office connectivity, SAP paved way for a solid win for Microsoft. IBF is supported only on Office 2003+ Professional editions and with IBF based Duet, Microsoft would be able to force its upgrades down the throats of enterprise users – and consequently, Microsoft can share the spoils from Duet. SAP wins because it expands its user base right into the desktop space, installs and deploys it middleware, and Microsoft wins because it gets its desktop upgrades - the one thing that enterprise users have stubbornly resisted, because Office 2000+ itself is “good enough” for them.
Net net, SAP and Microsoft win. But what about the customer? What does he get for all that expensive upgrade he has to do for Duet? Firstly, he gets Office 2003 professional on his desktop, which he did not want in the first place. And he gets the fairly limited scenarios from SAP, with a promise to get more, which no doubt SAP would deliver in the fullness of time. I simply cannot see CIOs or CFOs happy about this pay-now-get-benefits later buy.
It is easy to see why Microsoft is willing to push down its own MBS team and push for Duet from external SAP. After all, Duet might - just might - achieve what its Evolve marketing program could not do. Kick butt of Office 2000+ enterprise users and get them to upgrade.
But, it is hard to see why SAP felt the need to force its customers with MS Office upgrades. Just why would SAP want to do that??