The Microsoft Business Solutions group today kicked off its annual Convergence customer conference, highlighting the company’s strategy for business applications and detailing its enhanced technology road map to partners and customers. Convergence 2005, held March 6-9 at the San Diego Convention Center, includes keynote addresses by Microsoft Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates and Doug Burgum, senior vice president of the Microsoft Business Solutions Business Group at Microsoft. Gates’ keynote on March 9 will discuss business applications as a core component of day-to-day businesses operations today and in the future, and reinforce their strategic importance to Microsoft.
“Windows(R) and Office are a powerful foundation for productivity and a rich platform for partners to build great solutions and add value,” Gates said. “The Microsoft Business Solutions group builds on that foundation to deliver world-class business applications that are simpler and less expensive, offering more companies new ways to enhance the way they work.”
Burgum reaffirmed Gates’ vision for business software in his keynote today, underscoring the Microsoft Business Solutions group’s commitment to providing customers with a choice of solutions that are rich in functionality and that offer a precise fit for their business needs – at a lower cost than competing offerings. Driven by a vision of enabling organizations to pursue their business goals with confidence by bringing people and processes together with familiar and affordable Microsoft(R) software, the Microsoft Business Solutions group has shipped major upgrades and enhancements to its core business management products over the past 12 months. Building on the strengths of the solutions offered today, Burgum announced the next two significant release “waves” that will deliver further on this the vision.
A Road Map for Breakthrough Innovation
The enhanced road map for Microsoft Business Solutions is to deliver breakthrough innovation by aligning its development efforts with customers’ needs and their current technology environment. The Microsoft Business Solutions team will enhance and support today’s business management solutions until at least 2013 and offer five years of mainstream support for each major release, based on the product’s date of general availability, and most products will include eight years of online self-help support.
“Project Green,” the code name for next-generation Microsoft Business Solutions’ development efforts, will be delivered over the course of two waves. The first wave will occur between 2005 and 2007, and will include the release of a shared user interface based around 50 common configurable roles that people have within a company, all seamlessly integrated with Microsoft Office. Microsoft’s business applications also will interoperate with service- oriented applications and include a common configurable reporting environment based on SQL Server(TM) Reporting Services and a common security-enhanced intranet and extranet environment based on Microsoft Office SharePoint(R) Portal Server to enable new levels of collaboration within and across companies.
The second release wave, which will begin shipping in 2008, will build on the first wave’s innovation and apply a model-driven approach to business processes. Innovations released during the second wave will draw on the power of WinFX(TM) and Visual Studio(R).NET. By delivering on its vision of innovation, the Microsoft Business Solutions group will enable customers to take advantage of the increased innovation in its products without experiencing significant disruption or costs.
“With our customers’ business in mind, we continue to invest deeply across our business applications,” Burgum said. “The Microsoft Business Solutions team is dedicated to evolving its solutions to meet the changing demands and challenges that our customers face.”
Burgum also outlined the delivery road map for Microsoft Business Solutions business applications:
* Microsoft Business Solutions-Axapta. Microsoft will release the
Microsoft Axapta(R) 3.0 Service Pack 4 in the second quarter of 2005.
Availability of a beta version of Microsoft Axapta 4.0 is expected in
the fourth quarter of 2005 with a release to manufacturing expected in
the first half of 2006.
* Microsoft Business Solutions-Great Plains. Microsoft will launch
Microsoft Great Plains(R) 8.0 Extensions in the first quarter of 2005.
In the fourth quarter of 2005, Microsoft Great Plains 8.5 and Microsoft
Business Solutions Business Portal 3.0 will be made available.
* Microsoft Business Solutions-Navision. Microsoft will launch Microsoft
Navision(R) 4.01 in the third quarter of 2005.
* Microsoft Business Solutions-Solomon. Microsoft Business Solutions-
Solomon 6.5 is expected in the fourth quarter of 2005.
* Microsoft Business Solutions CRM. The next version of Microsoft CRM
will be released to manufacturing in the fourth quarter of 2005.
* Microsoft Business Solutions for Analytics-Forecaster. Microsoft
Forecaster 7.0 will be released in the third quarter of 2005. In the
first quarter of 2006, integration of Microsoft Business Solutions for
Analytics-FRx(R) 6.7 with Microsoft Navision 3.0 and Microsoft Navision
4.0 will be introduced. In the first half of 2006, Microsoft FRx 7.0
will be introduced, with Microsoft Forecaster 8.0 scheduled for launch
in the second half of 2006.
* Microsoft Business Solutions Retail Management System. Microsoft will
launch a next-generation point-of-sale solution in the second quarter
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