Posted by: ITKE
duet, mendocino, microsoft, SAP
What do real-life SAP users think about Duet? We recently asked our readers to share their two cents on the new product. The vast majority of the 100+ readers who were kind enough to submit comments to us were overwhelmingly positive. No doubt about it — the buzz we saw around the Duet booth at Sapphire 2006 is alive and well.
However, buzz does not automatically translate into actual implementations — at least not this year.
"I think Duet looks like a great way to deliver SAP functionality to end users," said Paul Krier from Johnsonville Sausage, Sheboygan, Wisc. "We may be able to use Duet in the Portal we are putting together, but at this point we use Lotus Notes as our email server, so I think we are a ways off from implementing Duet into our systems."
Colin Ross from Austrialian steel firm OneSteel echoes the positive sentiment. He considers the ability to run quick and easy reports directly in MS Outlook as the biggest benefit of Duet, and foresees his company getting on the Duet bandwagon in 2007.
"[This is a] nice product. I think it will be especially useful for users who only interact occasionally with SAP," Ross said.
Dan Amend from Tuthill corp., Burr Ridge, Ill. likes what he has heard so far but isn't ready to get in the game quite yet.
"We do not use much of the HR functionality in SAP," Amend said. "Most of the early Duet demos focused on T&E-type functions, so we have not gone too far with it. As it moves more into the financial arena with budgeting and analytics, we will get more interested in it."
Based on the responses we've seen, it seems many have choosen a slow and careful approach to Duet — but they'll probably get Duet with it in the end. This cautious angle has the proven benefit of having the early adopters clear the inevitable land mines before they take the plunge in 2007 and beyond. There were some downsides to Duet, however.
Bryan Beasley from CMC Steel Group is currently working the blue-printing of their SAP implementation. He works largely with Microsoft development, so this is a natural area of interest to him. Still, he has some reservations about Duet at this point in time.
"Based on reading and nothing hands-on, from what I can tell, the feature set is still somewhat limited," Beasley said. "In other words, it seems it may be hard for enterprise to cough up the bucks for a product that will have limited impact and will probably increase support costs in the short term.
What I have not seen from SAP is really how is it cost effective to develop something in Duet versus other environments such as Sharepoint, VS.NET or something more custom to SAP. And what about distribution and management of Duet solutions?"
Fellow SAP professional Sunil Aghi is generally very positive to Duet, but he did point to the Achilles heel of cost. This was something of a common thread as cost and excessive upgrade requirements on the SAP end appears to be the most frequently mentioned concern for SAP professionals.
"I see the success coming gradually, over a medium term horizon of 2-3 years," Aghi said. "[However,] cost, and upgrades, could be a deterrant."
Another question that came up was that of Exchange. What if you don't want to use Exchange? Many companies don't because of security concerns, one reader pointed out.
General distrust of Microsoft and its history of occasionally playing hardball with customers is another sticking point. The old Microsoft vs. Open Source debate appears to be alive and well.
"My biggest worry is that Duet is tied into Microsoft and does not allow for any latitude in the Open Source area (e.g. open office)," said Carl Cavendish-Davies from Barloworld Equipment. "This will heavily influence our decisions here as we are in a three-year cycle of migrating and proving the use of an Open Source Operating System."
So what's the final verdict on Duet? You be the judge! Check out our Special Report: Duet in a nutshell for a rundown of the benefits and technical specs you need to know. Tune into our latest podcast for an interview with Duet skeptic Jim Murphy of AMR Research. Then test your Duet knowledge in our Quiz: Duet 101.
Matt Danielsson, Editor