Underscoring its commitment to its existing technology and services offerings, Microsoft Business Solutions today kicked off its annual conference for North American customers, Convergence 2004: Microsoft Solutions Conference for Customers.
During the three-day event, customers of Microsoft Business Solutions will have several opportunities to preview upcoming versions of its enterprise resource planning and CRM solutions: Microsoft® Axapta®, Microsoft Great Plains®, Microsoft Navision®, Microsoft Solomon, Microsoft CRM and related services. Microsoft Business Solutions is investing in its current offerings to provide customers with the enriched functionality they need to remain competitive in today’s evolving marketplace.
“Convergence is one of the most important learning events of the year, for both Microsoft and our customer community,” said Doug Burgum, senior vice president of Microsoft Business Solutions Business Group. “Team members engage face to face with our customers to learn more about how our solutions impact their business operations. These interactions produce solid input for our ongoing research and development efforts. And customers have the opportunity to really dive into the product they use on a daily basis and learn new ways to get even more value from their solution.”
During Convergence 2004—with more than 4,500 customers, business partners and team members in attendance—Microsoft Business Solutions will showcase enhancements and upgrades made to current technologies and services that may help its customers maximize their information technology (IT) investments by increasing productivity, streamlining business processes, and easily accessing the information they need to make better business decisions.
Microsoft Business Solutions CRM
During his keynote address, Burgum demonstrated the ability to use Microsoft CRM Sales for Outlook® on Windows Mobile™ -based Pocket PCs, which will allow sales users to review data they choose to carry on the device before meetings and let them capture information gathered during sales calls or meetings. When the device is synchronized with Microsoft CRM, all the data can be automatically uploaded into the system. This Microsoft CRM Pocket PC functionality will be available in the summer of 2004.
Microsoft Business Solutions—Great Plains 8.0
Microsoft Great Plains 8.0, a cross-industry solution for the midmarket business segment, has been enhanced to deliver richer distribution, manufacturing and project accounting; a Microsoft Office look and feel; seamless integration with Microsoft Office; a deeper focus on Microsoft Business Solutions Business Portal functionality; and improved usability. Microsoft Great Plains offers rich out-of-the-box functionality and a broad set of independent software vendor (ISV) solutions. General availability for Microsoft Great Plains 8.0 is expected in North America in July 2004.
Microsoft Business Solutions Business Portal 2.5
Microsoft Business Portal 2.5 will feature requisition management, project self-service capabilities including time and expense management, electronic document delivery, enhancements to human resource management self-service, and seamless integration with the Microsoft Office Solution Accelerator for Sarbanes-Oxley. Microsoft Business Portal 2.5, as part of Microsoft Great Plains and Microsoft Solomon, will help businesses increase efficiency while reducing IT and support costs by delivering role-based access to information and business processes. General availability for Microsoft Business Portal 2.5 is expected in July 2004.
Microsoft Business Solutions—Navision 4.0
Microsoft Business Solutions is developing Microsoft Navision 4.0, a cross-industry midmarket segment solution that will include the flexibility and tools necessary to build highly customized solutions. Enhancements will focus on quality, innovation, simplicity and productivity, making the solution a solid platform for small, vertical ISVs. The functional enhancements to Microsoft Navision 4.0 will help streamline sales cycles, reduce implementation and deployment time, and enable quick tracking of new partners. Customers will also benefit from an improved user experience, greater manufacturing functionality, and a new toolkit to make the upgrade process quick and painless. Global availability for Microsoft Navision 4.0 is expected in October 2004.
Microsoft Business Solutions—Solomon 6.0
Microsoft Business Solutions is developing additional enhancements and functionality for Microsoft Solomon 6.0, a solution focused on project-, service- and distribution-driven companies. Existing functionality has been enhanced, including expanded Microsoft Business Portal capabilities, and significant additions are a new user interface to increase efficiency, new resource assignment capabilities in Microsoft Business Solutions for Project Management and Accounting—Solomon to improve project effectiveness, and seamless integration with Microsoft CRM. General availability for Microsoft Solomon 6.0 is expected in North America in July 2004.
Microsoft Business Solutions—Axapta
Microsoft Business Solutions, in conjunction with key solutions partner and Convergence co-sponsor [en’tegrate] usa, is announcing general availability of en’tegrate’s comprehensive, lean manufacturing and management solution targeted at midsize manufacturers, Lean Enterprise developed and distributed by en’tegrate for Microsoft Business Solutions—Axapta. Lean manufacturing techniques are based on the principles of continually re-evaluating business operations to reduce waste throughout work processes. Integrated directly into Microsoft Axapta, Lean Enterprise by en’tegrate enables businesses to reduce inventory, identify and help eliminate waste, improve service levels, and reduce operating costs. Lean Enterprise by en’tegrate for Microsoft Axapta provides midsize manufacturers with access to world-class technology, services and education.
“Our yearlong search to find a complete solution that supports our current operations and our quest for lean ended with Lean Enterprise by en’tegrate for Microsoft Axapta and en’tegrate in the No. 1 position,” said Donovan Dean, director of information technology with Haldex, a global supplier of proprietary products for commercial vehicles. “We believe that the combination of comprehensive capability, flexibility, simplicity and ease of use, and the solution’s low total cost is unmatched in the industry.”
Lean Enterprise by en’tegrate for Microsoft Axapta is now available in Europe and North America.
Microsoft Business Solutions for Analytics—FRx 6.7
Microsoft FRx® 6.7 brings further value to current business solutions with financial analytics that help companies gain control of the entire financial reporting process. The three major enhancements in Microsoft FRx 6.7 are a new module called FRx Report Manager, which enables users to quickly and easily pull together documents needed to deliver a comprehensive report book; improvements to the currency translation module; and upgraded support to the Extensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL) 2.0 taxonomy. Microsoft FRx 6.7 also features seamless integration with the Microsoft Office suite. For information on availability, customers should contact their enterprise resource planning /general ledger provider.
All solutions will be delivered through the Microsoft Certified Business Solutions partner channel and will be backed by Microsoft Business Solutions.