Microsoft, SAP join on healthcare IT

By Jeff Marion
12:00 AM

Microsoft and SAP America announced Monday from the HIMSS08 Conference & Exhibition the signing of a joint marketing agreement for healthcare enterprise management systems.

The collaboration will seek to help healthcare organizations increase operational efficiency and reduce costs using software to automate and streamline processes that are today often manual or based on legacy technology, the companies said in a release.

Targeting the healthcare market, SAP and Microsoft will tailor existing technologies including Duet, software that integrates Microsoft's front-end Office productivity programs with SAP's complex ERP (enterprise resource planning) applications. Duet handles tasks such as purchasing, inventory, budget management and other administrative processes.

"Healthcare is a complex industry, with slim margins, tight budgets and

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high administrative costs," said Tim Smokoff, general manager of healthcare for the Worldwide Public Sector Team at Microsoft. "There is tremendous opportunity for these organizations to lower those costs and create value through the power of software. Together with SAP, we want to help the healthcare industry realize that value."

Microsoft's moves in the healthcare industry area are relatively new, as the company continues to diversify its products beyond its Office software and Windows operating system.