SAP AG and Microsoft Corp. will deliver the final beta version for Mendocino on April 28, just two months prior to the scheduled final release, the German software maker told TechWeb.
Mendocino, which brings together SAP's business applications and Microsoft's Office desktop productivity applications, will have embedded analytics by the end of this year. Data will appear in charts, bars and graphs. SAP expects to make public a product release timeline at the Orlando, Fla., Sapphire 2006 customer conference in May.
SAP Labs LLC's general manager of Emerging Solutions Dennis Moore said Mendocino is the company's flagship effort to serve "information workers" who require daily analytics to do their job. "We are pushing together Mendocino and analytics to give the information worker all the data in the environment they prefer, which is Microsoft Office," he said. "SAP will push the enterprise data through Mendocino to make the information available in folders that sit on the computer desktop."
The goal to package-up enterprise data has turned SAP's focus toward to embed analytic capabilities across its software suites from enterprise resource planning (ERP) to customer relationship management (CRM) platforms, which has become a similar direction at Oracle Corp. The strategy could double the number of users, up from 25 percent of the employees at 25 percent of the world's largest enterprises, Moore said.
And analytics could go beyond the desktop. Moore, whose responsibilities include search technology and portable devices, such as cellular phones, and ruggedized PDAs, like those from Symbol Technologies Inc. or Intermec Technologies Corp., wouldn't confirm the types of other devices on which information might become available.
Mendocino will initially offer four functions: Leave management, Time management, Organization management and Budget monitoring. Others will follow.
Getting Mendocino off the ground hasn't been easy, though the outcome has been positive, Moore said. SAP and Microsoft have different approaches to delivering software. "We try not to release the software until it's fully baked and then slowly ramp up to a small number of customers," Moore said. "The Microsoft approach has been to have wide availability of the pre-shipment general availably versions, which they call previews, and get it so the product works without a lot of support before releasing it to customers."
The idea for a collaborative project came to fruition after Microsoft executives demonstrated a platform to SAP executives that eventually became known as Information Bridge Framework (IBF). SAP spent more than one year building prototypes, and than talking with Microsoft, until the night prior to SAP's Sapphire 2005 customer conference in Copenhagen. That night "Steve B, Jeff R, Shai and Henning, signed the agreement and we went with the announcement the next day," Moore said. "A bunch of people in Germany didn't go to sleep for four days straight."