Building on its continued investment in helping small businesses become more efficient and better serve their customers, Microsoft Corp. today announced a new edition of Microsoft® Office for small-business management. Developed jointly by the Microsoft Business Solutions and Microsoft Office teams and scheduled for U.S. availability in late 2005, the new edition of Office is designed to help redefine the way small companies manage their business operations through technology.
Fueled by extensive feedback from small-business customers, the new edition of Microsoft Office for small-business management will be a fully integrated solution that includes the highly familiar Microsoft Office 2003 programs along with Microsoft Office Small Business Accounting, a new financial management solution, and an updated version of Microsoft Office Outlook® 2003 with Business Contact Manager.
With this new solution, companies will be able to manage sales, marketing and financial processes, all in the well-known, easy-to-use Office environment. It has been built to help small companies meet their most important business management needs:
*Integrated business information. The new edition can offer small businesses a streamlined way to manage their most important customer, financial and business processes, resulting in better decisions and improved efficiencies.
*Better financial management. Microsoft Office Small Business Accounting will bring a unique and powerful experience in world-class business management software from the Microsoft Business Solutions team, combined with the widely used, familiar Office platform. Microsoft will offer an easy migration path to its other Microsoft Business Solutions financial management offerings as small businesses grow and their needs become more complex.
*Stronger customer relationships. Small businesses will be able to build stronger customer relationships and improve sales management with Microsoft Office Outlook 2003 with Business Contact Manager. Microsoft will provide migration options for small businesses using Microsoft Office Outlook 2003 with Business Contact Manager to Microsoft Business Solutions CRM when they require a more robust tool to better manage customer relationships across sales, customer service and marketing.
*Increased employee efficiency. The flexibility of the new Microsoft Office Edition will enable business owners and managers to grant employees security-enhanced access to critical financial and customer information, providing them with greater efficiency while conducting day-to-day customer management and business tasks.
Together with Microsoft Office Small Business Edition 2003, which was launched last year, this new edition will expand the range of Office-based solutions specifically designed for small businesses.
“Small businesses are increasingly interested in advanced financial and business management tools,” said Raymond Boggs, vice president of SMB research at IDC. “More and more of these guys realize that effective contact management is like stuffing dollar bills into their own pockets. The key is to make the process as efficient as possible, especially in firms that may still have some staff keeping leads on 3×5 cards in shoe boxes.”
Orlando Ayala, senior vice president of the Small and Midmarket Solutions & Partner Group at Microsoft, said the new Microsoft Office Edition for small-business management is a direct response to the feedback Microsoft has heard from today’s small businesses. “We actively listen to our small-business customers to understand the challenges they face in their day-to-day business operations. This new Microsoft Office Edition was built from the ground up based on extensive customer research to ensure we’re delivering a solution that is meaningful to them and the way they work,” he said. “This announcement is evidence of Microsoft’s unwavering commitment to empower small businesses with innovative, dynamic technology that will help them focus on strategy, growth and remaining viable in an increasingly competitive, global marketplace.
“Big businesses aren’t the only organizations that need integrated business management software,” Ayala continued. “We believe small businesses are an underserved customer segment, and with today’s announcement we intend to bring innovative solutions to those companies to help them realize their full potential.”
Microsoft’s New Edition of Microsoft Office: A Solid Bet for Partners
With today’s announcement, Microsoft is offering its worldwide network of partners strong opportunities to deliver solutions that address small-business challenges and promote a broader adoption of technology across this vast market segment that boosts local economies. Partners of all sizes and types across the entire ecosystem can contribute significantly to successfully driving new technology adoption among small businesses.
Specifically, independent software vendors (ISVs) will play a strategic role in this offering by providing both vertical and horizontal solutions built on top of Microsoft Office Small Business Accounting. “Microsoft is bringing true innovation into this area, and I’m really excited about the strong ability we have to give customers a seamless Office-like experience,” said Tom Fanelli, vice president of sales and marketing with Coastal Computer Corp. “The Solution Development Kit (SDK) truly empowers ISVs, and using it, we have been able to develop powerful applications that integrate seamlessly with Microsoft Small Business Accounting in no time.”
World-Class Payroll Support From ADP
In developing Microsoft Office Edition for small-business management, Microsoft worked closely with Automatic Data Processing Inc. (ADP) Small Business Services, part of the Employer Services Division of Automatic Data Processing Inc., a leading provider of integrated outsourced payroll and human resources services, to deliver an integrated payroll offering. Businesses using the new Microsoft Office Edition will be presented with tightly integrated self-service and fully outsourced payroll services, including signature-ready tax forms, integrated checks and other online forms, as well as support for direct deposit.
“ADP is focused on providing small businesses with a choice of the best and most innovative business solutions and services for payroll and taxes,” S. Michael Martone, group president for ADP Employer Services. “This product combines our extensive payroll and service expertise with Microsoft’s software and distribution capabilities to provide small businesses and accountants with an integrated accounting, payroll and tax processing solution.”
The new edition will be available in the United States in late 2005.