Skip to Content
Author's profile photo Alan Rickayzen

SAP Workflow meets Microsoft Office – a Duet of technologies

There’s two ways of looking at workflow. You either look at it as a high up birds-of-view of the process and what the process automation will achieve…. or….. you look at it from within the thick of it – as a user interaction experience.

Neither is right and neither is wrong. You either can’t see the forest for the trees, or can’t see the trees but the forest. If you don’t cover both, you lose, because the best designed processes will fail if the users don’t understand what they’re meant to be doing at their particular branch (groan) of the process. And the best designed user-interaction will fail if the the process doesn’t lead anywhere or do anything useful.

Duet, when it comes to workflow, is about getting in as close to the process as you can. It’s about looking at the user interaction in detail. It’s about making that branch of the process so easy to use, so intuitive, so attractive to deal with right away, that that part of the process is executed in record time and record dilligence.

The consequence: Approvals are performed on time. And rejections, which are what prevent a company making mistakes and losing money, can be made because the complete context information is available and instantly interpretable.

So Duet offers the following in MS Outlook:

  • Offline and secure approvals (no crossing your fingers and hoping that an smtp mail isn’t spoofed).
  • Approvals can be done directly from your e-mail as you receive it.
  • User interface hides the technology used below the surface (that might change with time and release).
  • You control the configuration of the context information displayed with approval
  • Above all – you can do the approval and handle the sporadic ad hoc requirements such as adding attachments as intuitively as you handle your e-mail.

And it offers this without disrupting the process in any way. The forest doesn’t change. In other words you don’t have to call the workflow consultants back in. It’s purely a matter of getting the trees to sprout new leaves.

This is one of the scenarios that SAP and Microsoft are offering in their next release of Duet. And to prepare you for what is coming there is a workflow education session at Teched (UP202) . In addition I’ll be leading a birds-of-a-feather discussion session at the community day, Tuesday, the day before the official teched program begins in Munich. It’s a chance to discuss face-to-face the possibilities that Duet offers to workflow, consequences and how to prepare for it.

If you plan to attend this BOF session, please add your name to the Wiki (linked above) and drop me a line so that I know what expectations I can address.

And don’t forget the Teched education session UP202 on Friday.





Assigned Tags

      You must be Logged on to comment or reply to a post.
      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Hi Alan:

      The picture is really cool...First glimpse of Duet -:) Hope to see more information about it!!!



      Author's profile photo Gregor Wolf
      Gregor Wolf
      Hi Blag,

      have a look at, there you find a lot more pictures.


      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      I can't see any real benefit for client. For me it's looks like:
      - sort of duplication functionality with Portal UWL
      - SAP try to combine Portal functionality and SAP Business Workplace into Duet

      Approval via Microsoft Outlook is not new stuff. SAP can do this even before extended notification born.

      I believe as a customer their need additional cost for new server, new product and I believe they need to upgrade their hardware (server & workstation). We all knew that Mircrosoft product require extra resources (memory, faster processor and storage)

      Again looking at presentation, the benefits that customer will get is not significant compare with cost of money that they have to burn

      Author's profile photo Alan Rickayzen
      Alan Rickayzen
      Blog Post Author
      Hi Maorriyan,
      You've raised some common concerns which are similar to those I used to hear while explaining the value of the UWL.
      Just as it took time to understand the value of the UWL (or workflow for that matter) I'm sure the same will be true for Duet. But, look around and you'll see that productivity tools have a knack of establishing themselves and justifying the cost.

      BTW: I should mentioned the dicussion forum.
      Duet [To remove]