Microsoft-SAP Duet Enterprise extends supply chain, purchasing options

Duet Enterprise, a collaborative platform for SAP and Microsoft Sharepoint users, offers new flexibility in supply chain management and purchasing.

Support organizations such as purchasing and supply chain management (SCM) groups hit hard by the recession and recent workforce shifts need practical, easy-to-use and secure platforms to execute intercompany transactions.

For organizations that use both SAP and Microsoft SharePoint, a number of process-based solutions have been built by SAP partners as part of a platform jointly developed by both software makers. Offered as Duet Enterprise, this platform helps companies leverage common, user-friendly Microsoft Office and Microsoft Sharepoint applications as a user interface.

Similar to scenarios in other support functions, Duet Enterprise partners have worked to address the "do more with less" challenge facing many midsize to large enterprise businesses, with a significant investment in both user experience via SharePoint and back office, heavy-lifting enterprise management functionality, using SAP SCM and supplier relationship management (SRM) as the system of record.

A closer look at Duet Enterprise

The Harmony workspace by Cordis Solutions provides catologuing as well as purchasing applications accessible by the Windows 8 tile launch pad; Harmony also contains several applications for HR processes. The catalogue application myGuidedBuy offers a shopping basket experience where employees can purchase, lease and reserve specific supplies, capital expenses and other items. Theoretically, myGuidedBuy can serve as a reverse auction or pick list if the price is set in advance, while myRequisitions allows for the requisitions for management approvals to be sorted, reviewed and approved while in the shopping basket queue. Each application takes advantage of the SharePoint application environment to drive transactions, which are then recorded in their corresponding elements in SAP SRM and SAP SCM

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Organizations have long used Microsoft SharePoint as the backbone of supplier portals. With Duet Enterprise, these supplier portals can be fed specific vendor information from SAP SRM, including any documentation or certification requirements needed for supplier compliance. Purchasing agents and program managers can then determine which suppliers are certified for particular business opportunities, or who are current on compliance initiatives such as ISO certification, product compliance issues such as REACH and RoHS, and financial compliance such as Dodd-Frank and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX). One large electronics component manufacturer that wished to remain anonymous uses SAP SRM as the system of record and feeds its supplier portal via Duet Enterprise links to Microsoft SharePoint.

Taking a deeper look into the product-make processes, Duet Enterprise partner Campana-Schott has developed its CS Procurement Portal. The portal is built ideally for component manufacturers that roll up parts into subassemblies and assemblies for discrete manufacturers, or recipe and chemical compounds for process manufacturers. Leveraging a Site Collection utility and their own SharePoint sites, suppliers have the ability to share components to the buyer end of the CS Purchasing Portal, where matching and selection can be made from components to final build parts. CS Purchasing Portal also has transparency into the SAP ERP Materials Management module, which allows for production bill of materials via material master and part master information. Basic analytics offers price comparisons based on component and volume levels, which could be used with demand planning utilities.

More information on these application solutions built using Duet Enterprise platform are available in the Duet marketplace.

About the author
William Newman is managing principal of Newport Consulting Group, an independent management and technology consulting firm based in Clarkston, Mich. Contact him via email at wnewman@newportconsgroup.com or follow him on Twitter @william_newman.

Follow SearchManufacturingERP.com on Twitter @ManufacturingTT.

This was first published in December 2012

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