Microsoft Corp. and SAP AG today announced a significant expansion of their long-standing relationship based on a shared commitment to Web services as the foundation for the next generation of enterprise software. The two companies detailed a road map for deeper integration between Microsoft® .NET and SAP NetWeaver™, the companies’ respective strategic platform initiatives, allowing customers to get more out of business-critical SAP® applications and technologies running in collaboration with Microsoft .NET. The jointly developed solutions will greatly enhance access to SAP NetWeaver functionality for developers using Microsoft Visual Studio® .NET and will increase the interoperability between SAP solutions and the Microsoft Office System. Intrinsic support for industry-standard Web services integration techniques promises to make business integration faster, cheaper and easier, and further unlock the value of business information to enhance productivity and spur better business decision-making. The announcement was made at SAPPHIRE® ‘04, SAP’s international customer conference being held in New Orleans May 11–13.
Microsoft and SAP have been partners in delivering enterprise business value to customers for more than a decade. More than 40,000 SAP installations run on Microsoft Windows® — more than all other platforms combined. Almost two-thirds of all new SAP installations are deployed on Microsoft Windows. By aligning their flagship software efforts for the next decade, the two companies are reaffirming their commitment to help customers protect, integrate and extend their investments across Microsoft and SAP solutions.
“The strong success of SAP NetWeaver in its first year is compelling evidence that customers, partners and analysts share SAP’s vision of a new era of software built upon the promises of the Enterprise Services Architecture,” said Henning Kagermann, CEO of SAP AG. “The openness of SAP NetWeaver assures customers that they will be able to manage their enterprise with the flexibility that comes from interoperability with powerful and familiar tools such as Microsoft Office and technologies like Microsoft .NET. For thousands of shared customers, the value proposition of Web services will continue to be enhanced by the deepening technology integration between SAP and Microsoft.”
“Every business wants to connect people, information and processes to gain deeper insights into the marketplace, respond faster than their competitors, and better serve customers,” said Bill Gates, chairman and chief software architect at Microsoft. “Using Web services to connect the critical business information and processes in SAP NetWeaver with the power and productivity of Microsoft .NET will give our mutual customers a key competitive edge.”
“The relationship between SAP, Microsoft and Accenture promotes technological synergies, enabling companies to better integrate their enterprise,” said Joe Forehand, chairman and CEO of Accenture. “We are very pleased with the shared commitment of Microsoft and SAP to integrate .NET and NetWeaver technologies. The collaboration among our three companies will accelerate the delivery of Web services solutions for the enterprise, helping clients realize tremendous business value.”
Road Map Outlined
The two companies announced a road map for both technology deliverables and business engagement designed to deliver significant business value to customers, enabling them to extend and connect SAP deployments using SAP NetWeaver and Microsoft .NET.
*SAP Enterprise Portal SDK for Microsoft .NET. SAP announced plans to begin a beta program this summer with a goal of enabling developers who use the popular ASP.NET programming model to customize and extend SAP solutions by delivering richer and more robust SAP Enterprise Portal development capabilities on the Microsoft Windows platform using Microsoft Visual Studio .NET as a development environment.
*SAP .NET Connector Version 2.0. Building on the work the companies have already done to help customers more easily integrate SAP applications with solutions based on Microsoft .NET, SAP will offer a new version of the popular connector in August. New features include enhanced language support for Visual Basic® .NET, better integration with Visual Studio .NET and enhancements to support development of more-secure applications and controls.
*SAP support for Visual Studio .NET. SAP will support Visual Studio .NET by joining the Visual Studio Industry Partner (VSIP) program, allowing developers who use Visual Studio .NET to more directly program against SAP applications from the familiar Visual Studio Integrated Development Environment (IDE).
*SAP NetWeaver support for advanced Web services protocols. The next version of SAP NetWeaver will provide native support for advanced Web services protocols, enabling reliable and transacted interoperability with core Microsoft .NET technologies including Microsoft BizTalk® Server, as well as other products from Microsoft and other companies. Microsoft and SAP have agreed to expand their cooperation around defining and ensuring interoperability of advanced Web services and implement them in their respective products.
*SAP NetWeaver support for Microsoft smart client technology. SAP is delivering sample applications for developers to implement smart clients to access SAP system capabilities from Microsoft Office System applications and Visual Studio 2005, a smart client UI, and a software development kit for the next version of Windows code-named “Longhorn.” Smart clients bring higher productivity, powerful analysis and collaboration tools, and offline and mobility support.
*Integration between SAP NetWeaver, Microsoft Exchange and Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services. Microsoft will deliver repository managers that integrate between SAP NetWeaver Knowledge Management, Windows SharePoint® Services and Microsoft Exchange Server. The repository managers are expected to be available in early 2005.
*Joint staffing of Collaboration Technology Support Center. Microsoft and SAP jointly staff a Collaboration Technology Support Center (CTSC) in Walldorf, Germany. The center helps the companies identify and showcase integration scenarios and will support both companies’ sales and support staffs.
*Joint sales and marketing. Microsoft and SAP will collaborate on marketing and activities to drive sales and implementation of SAP on the Microsoft platform. These activities will include joint publication of white papers and joint support of a marketing development fund to allow the two companies to pursue sales opportunities together.
As part of the alliance, the two companies entered into a patent cross-license to provide a better environment for joint technical collaboration and solutions development. “This cross-license signifies a growing relationship between Microsoft and SAP to benefit customers with both innovation and peace of mind that we stand behind the intellectual property in our products,” said Shai Agassi, member of the executive board at SAP. “The license brings together two of the world’s most significant software innovators and provides a way for both companies to offer more compelling solutions for our customers. Our work together is a strong example of open collaboration and innovation on behalf of customers in the IT industry.”