Any kind of enterprise application can be built on top of Duet Enterprise, e.g. to support particular business activities for Product Lifecycle Management (PLM), Supply Chain Management (SCM), Customer Relationship Management (CRM), … etc . However the idea here is not to rebuild application interfaces that already exist. Instead through Duet Enterprise we provide a set of application building blocks from which new kinds of solutions can be composed. We expect that these new kinds of solutions will enable collaboration, communications, or content management in Office and SharePoint in extension to the core SAP business processes. The consumers of these solutions would be information workers who need access to SAP information and services as they perform their business activities, or who participate in business processes managed in SAP, but are not typically power users of the SAP interfaces.
The building blocks that we will provide through Duet include both functional building blocks (e.g. application components for SAP data models like Customer, Product, Employee, … etc.) , as well as infrastructural building blocks (e.g. for Reporting, Workflow, Collaboration, … etc.).
These infrastructural building blocks are what Christian described as 'Ready To Use' capabilities in his blog posting earlier.
So an example of a solution built on Duet Enterprise might be an extension to inventory management processes in SAP to allow ad-hoc collaboration and reporting in SharePoint around alerts and notifications raised from a warehouse or a factory floor. However while Duet Enterprise provides a new set of building blocks, it does not add a new set of tools. Solution builders can leverage existing skillsets, and use standard tools like Visual Studio, SharePoint Designer, and ABAP Workbench. They would use these tools to compose these building blocks into new kinds of solutions that support a particular type of business activity. This solution would typically combine ad-hoc collaboration in SharePoint with structured process in SAP, and bring in contextual business data and reports to support decision making for that activity.
Let us take a specific example. In today's enterprises there are typically virtual teams to service key customer accounts. A particular account v-team would include employees who report into different organizational units, e.g. Sales, Marketing, Support ... etc., and who work out of different geographic locations. While organizationally separate, these v-teams need a way to collaborate among themselves, and to manage their working activities. Out-of-the-box with Duet Enterprise we will ship a set of composites, one of which is the customer collaboration workspace for account teams. This will enable any person with access to account information in SAP, to browse the list of customer accounts within SharePoint, and for any account request access to a collaboration workspace. This is a SharePoint site that gets auto-provisioned by the Duet Foundation the first time that the workspace is requested by a member of the account v-team, using the packaged composite that ships with Duet Enterprise. The site comes pre-wired with connections to SAP information and services. For example the account v-team members can view and edit account related information that is managed by SAP, as well as view reports related to the account, and can take for granted that the Duet Foundation provides the integrated security and administrative support which is necessary to support such activities.
Now consider the design time experience to support the flow described above. The composite for the customer collaboration workspace which we provide in Duet Enterprise is a collection of building blocks that have been assembled together in a particular way. This provides a starting point for further customization and solution building. For example, there is a set of web services that are exposed from within the Duet Enterprise SAP Add-on (e.g. Customer, Sales Contact, … etc.), there is a set of External Content Types provided for SharePoint (that map to the SAP web services), and there is a SharePoint site definition which provides a template for the customer collaboration workspaces which are auto-provisioned for v-team members. In addition there are SharePoint Features for the ready to use capabilities (e.g. Related Reports) that can be stapled to the Site Definition. So a solution builder can customize the composite by extending the web services and the external content types, by adding new SharePoint web parts or Features if needed, and by customizing the site definition files for the workspace, or even creating entirely new site definitions. Finally the solution builder leverages hooks in the Duet Foundation to plug in these new or customized composites.
This is a rather high level introduction to the topic of building Duet Enterprise solutions. Going forward we'll provide more details, and specific examples.