The SAP-Microsoft partnership, so momentous on paper, is actually quite modest, limited as it is to Duet. A recent SearchSAP.com readership survey indicated that many SAP customers are either unfamiliar with Duet or aren’t clear about what kind of real business value it can add to their companies.
This year’s TechEd offered signs that the SAP-Microsoft partnership is going deeper. Specifically, SAP offered a preview of the SAP Enterprise Services Explorer for .NET (call it SESEN for short) that will jazz up the partnership by offering .NET as well as ABAP developers a way to create interoperating services.
To understand SESEN better, remember that one of NetWeaver’s goals is to be a single interface to, and environment for, all of a company’s SOA-based services. Since services can be created by a number of different tools, this requires NetWeaver to be able to interact with other UDDI-based registries, such as those provided by Microsoft. SESEN functions as an add-in within Microsoft Visual Studio that effectively lets .NET developers more easily invoke and utilize SAP enterprise services in a Microsoft environment.
What does this mean in practice? SAP’s TechEd demo offered a thought-provoking use case. Imagine a scenario in which employees can choose their own company cars from a list of approved models (hardly a common case, but it made for a flashy presentation). With SESEN, you could use a Microsoft tool, such as Windows Media Player, as a front end from which to see a view of the cars. Clicking on the car invokes Microsoft Visual Studio logic, which would then pull up the SAP HR system to allow the employee to make a request to have a specific car assigned. This request would effectively go into the SAP workflow by being routed to a manager for approval.
That’s an example of an SAP service (call it “choose and approve company vehicle”) being consumed by a .NET application, but SESEN would allow you to go the other way as well, by calling a Visual Studio-defined service into the SAP environment. For SAP end users, this means easier access to services created in Microsoft and vice versa, and it should take Duet further by offering meatier integration between SAP and Microsoft.
SESEN, currently available on a trial basis from the SAP Developer Network, will be generally available at the end of the year. You can download it here.
Demir Barlas, Site Editor