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SAP, Microsoft Push Analytics Into Mendocino

SAP hopes to double its customer base with the June release of a product that will provide the ability to access its applications through Microsoft Office.
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."