Duet is a category creator kind of product in the area of desktop connectivity, an issue close to my heart, and one that I am invested in, in multiple ways. I like the fact that industry chiefs, SAP and Microsoft, have recognized this end-user pain, and that some of the issues I have seen end-users battling with, would be resolved in the future. Several folks from the blogosphere have wondered here and here why I have chosen to write a blog about a specific product.
I write about Duet because I have serious misgivings about the way it is composed. The way Duet is created, it would have the world believe that end-users can ONLY achieve desktop connectivity if they did the “n” things that Duet asked them to do – ie Upgrade desktops, install huge middleware, upgrade SAP itself etc. But this is not so.
I know. We have done it with much much less.
Knowing what I do, I cannot but speak about how a technology product is being crafted and architected in a manner by industry leaders that pushes additional priced components to an unsuspecting customer. Duet is the almost the first BIG product in this category, and customers don’t really know that desktop connectivity can be done any other way except the Duet-way. And hence, this blog on Duet.
Incidentally, it is not that the flaws pointed out by me have been unnoticed by others. I have, in fact blogged here about how I felt when I found like-minded folks saying the things I have known about Duet – about limited scenarios, about it being too-much-for-too-little, about its lack of legacy support, and its lack of development tools.
I must add that I do admire SAP for its market insight and its astuteness in recognizing the need of end-users, and creating Duet. With Duet, SAP has built a serious competitive differentiation vis-à-vis Oracle. Jeff, brilliant moves here by you and the anti-Oracle team of SAP, by crafting this competitive strategy. Some day, if and when Oracle falls behind, it may find Duet had a lot to do with it. For those who are interested, here is my take on the desktop connectivity battle here and how it may affect the enterprise vendors in the future.
On technology side, I like the SAP side of the Duet middleware architecture, with its Netweaver middleware based on ESA framework, even though I struggle to understand its reason to upgrade to mySAP ERP versions. But what I really dislike is the way Microsoft has pushed in its own upgrade agenda by choosing an IBF based framework, while responding to desktop connectivity problem. Whatever Duet’s functionality is, SAP could have delivered the same without involving Microsoft. Adding Microsoft to the desktop connectivity solution has muddied the picture – added upgrades, created the need for giving piece-meal value packs, tied it up Microsoft development plans – worst, took away the development framework and tools. Including Microsoft in this project adds no value to SAP customers.
I cannot see why SAP had to do this. I asked Dennis Moore, the “father” of Duet about why SAP chose Microsoft’s IBF as its development platform here, and I have not heard from him yet.