Building on an established 11-year relationship, the newest agreement between Microsoft and SAP will provide for a deeper integration between Microsoft .Net and SAP NetWeaver integration platforms.
Currently, more than 40,000 SAP installations run on Microsoft Windows, and almost two-third of SAPs new installations likewise are deployed on Windows, so the relationship makes sense. What it will provide to developers is the ability to extend SAP applications in a Microsoft environment.
The roadmap the two companies outlined—by SAP CEO Henning Kagermann in his keynote address supplemented with a video clip of Bill Gates—covers both technology and business fronts. On the tech front, SAP is running a beta program this summer that will enable developers using ASP.Net to customize and extend SAP applications. The customizations and extensions will be enabled by upgraded SAP Enterprise Portal development capabilities running on Windows and using Microsofts Visual Studio .Net development environment.
SAP will also release in August Version 2.0 of its .Net Connector. Upgrades will include better language support for Visual Basic .Net and better integration with Visual Studio .Net. At the same time, to help Microsoft programmers better program against SAP applications, SAP will join the Visual Studio Industry Partner program, officials said.
With the next version of NetWeaver—likely available in 2005—SAP will offer native support for Web service protocols, which will bring more interoperability with Microsofts BizTalk Server. SAP will also provide sample applications for developers to access SAP capabilities from Office applications and Visual Studio 2005.
On Microsofts side, the company will provide repository managers, available in 2005, that integrate NetWeavers knowledge management functionality and Windows SharePoint Servers and Microsoft Exchange Server.
On the business front, both Microsoft and SAP, of Walldorf, Germany, will add staff to a Collaboration Technology Support Center located in SAPs hometown.