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Microsoft Business Solutions Group Delivers on Microsoft Dynamics

Microsoft, customers and partners celebrate innovative applications that allow businesses to succeed in creating the people-read

DALLAS, March 26 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Today at Convergence 2006, the Microsoft Business Solutions Group's customer conference, Microsoft Business Division President Jeff Raikes outlined the future of the Microsoft Business Division and how it is delivering on a vision of roles-based productivity that combines people and processes to enable the people-ready business. A core component of this strategy is Microsoft Dynamics(TM), a line of integrated, adaptable business management solutions. Microsoft Corp. demonstrated recently shipped solutions and upcoming 2006 releases that deliver on its Microsoft Dynamics product road map, first introduced at last year's conference, reinforcing its strategy to deliver breakthrough innovation through a series of transformational releases in an iterative, nondisruptive manner.

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The first wave of Microsoft Dynamics innovations focuses on users by delivering a roles-based user experience; extensive collaboration functionality and powerful business intelligence through deep integration with Microsoft(R) Office and Microsoft SQL Server(TM); and Web services-based customization. The next wave of innovations will build on this user-centric design through the addition of a simple model-driven development and customization environment for increased business process flexibility and support for breakthrough collaboration scenarios.

"Microsoft Dynamics is focused on the business needs of customers with solutions that are familiar to Microsoft users, helping fuel their productivity and enable confident decision-making," Raikes said. "We believe that people are at the center of every successful organization, and making people more productive with their use of software is at the core of our innovation in Microsoft Dynamics. By researching and then aligning the software development to the way individuals work day in and day out, we have the opportunity to completely transform the workplace."

At Convergence 2006, attendees are celebrating with the Microsoft Business Solutions Group the delivery and market success of key milestones in the Microsoft Dynamics road map, including the following:

* Microsoft Dynamics GP 9.0. Microsoft Dynamics GP 9.0 delivers 21 role- based desktops, a familiar Microsoft Office 2003 user interface, new Business Analysis Cubes for Microsoft Excel(R), expanded reach and functionality around the Microsoft Windows(R) SharePoint(R) Services, deeper integration with Microsoft Dynamics CRM than the previous version, and a Visual Studio(R)2005 development environment for extending Microsoft Dynamics GP using Web services and Extensible Markup Language (XML).

* Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0. Microsoft Dynamics CRM provides a complete suite of powerful marketing, sales and service capabilities, all with a familiar and consistent user experience based on Microsoft Office and Microsoft Office Outlook(R). In addition to a native Office environment, Microsoft CRM delivers powerful event-driven workflow capabilities and reporting and analytics capabilities based on Microsoft Excel and Microsoft SQL Server(TM) Reporting Services for real-time visibility into every business process and customer interaction. And extensive new configuration, customization and integration capabilities make it easy for customers and partners to deploy highly tailored solutions that drive measurable business results and offer a low total cost of ownership.

* Microsoft Dynamics AX 4.0. Microsoft Dynamics AX 4.0, shipping later this year, is a multilanguage, multicurrency enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution with core strengths in manufacturing and supply chain management as well as the wholesale and services industries. This next release extends the product's object-oriented, metadata-driven customization model, which includes strong support for Windows SharePoint Services, SQL Server Reporting Services and Visual Studio-based customization using a new Web services integration layer and XML.

* Microsoft Dynamics SL 6.5, formerly Microsoft Business Solutions- Solomon. This solution is designed to enable project-, service- and distribution-driven organizations to simplify the user experience while receiving the benefits of a complete business management solution. Microsoft Dynamics SL 6.5 includes expanded out-of-the-box Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services-based support for user-specific scheduling of reports and processes within the application server, new Bank Reconciliation and Purchase Requisition modules, and more than 100 enhancements for project-driven organizations and distributors. In addition, Microsoft Dynamics SL now includes the BIO(TM) analytics tool for additional operational insight and business intelligence capabilities.

* Microsoft Dynamics NAV Service Pack 1. This Service Pack introduces support for SharePoint, making it possible for an expanded set of users to access, modify and create data through a familiar Microsoft SharePoint Web interface. The enhancements further empower organizations through optimized integration with broad Microsoft technologies including Microsoft Office and Microsoft SQL Server, and an expanded Web services focus for improved business insight.

Microsoft Business Division Is Good News for Customers

In addition to delivering on the promises of the Microsoft Dynamics road map, whose components will come together into one converged solution over time, the Microsoft Business Solutions Group has tightened its organizational integration into Microsoft with the formation of the Microsoft Business Division, led by Raikes. This reorganization combined the Microsoft Business Solutions Group with the Information Worker Business Group, fostering greater collaboration between the two to deliver powerful business management functionality in a familiar and user-friendly environment.

"The natural synergies between the Information Worker Business and Microsoft Business Solutions Groups provide our customers and partners with great power and opportunity to choose software solutions that work how they want to work," Raikes said. "By delivering to our customers solutions that are familiar and fit easily into their current systems, we are able to bring customers rich functionality with high ease of use and adaptability at low costs."

Microsoft Dynamics Improves Business Processes for Customers

Customers around the world are seeing tangible results and business value from the first wave of Microsoft Dynamics products and solutions. Because Microsoft Dynamics works the way a customer's current technology works, it fits easily into existing systems and helps customers maximize their investment in Microsoft technology to automate business-critical operations and unique business processes.

"We believe that business should drive IT, not the other way around," said Andy Fralick, IT director for Webasto Product North America, a leading manufacturer and distributor of innovative products for the automotive and transportation industry. With over 6,000 employees in 28 countries, Webasto AG produces high-quality sunroofs, parking heaters and air conditioning units for both original equipment manufacturers and the aftermarket, which allow customers to experience comfort on the move. The company's U.S. subsidiary, WPNA, based in Fenton, Mich., has deployed an integrated manufacturing, distribution and customer relationship management solution built with Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0 and Microsoft Dynamics GP 8.0.

"All the Microsoft Dynamics products work with each other on a common platform," Fralick said. "We're leading the charge here in the U.S. for Webasto's aftermarket division to go with Microsoft Dynamics globally. Our experience is that it has the ease of use and the ease of rollout at a fraction of the cost of other ERP solutions. And we're very comfortable with the idea that Microsoft is going to be around for a long time. These solutions are going to get even better."

Partners Build Their Business on Microsoft Dynamics

With Microsoft Dynamics, partners have a solid platform on which they can build customized capabilities to address the business process needs of customers, regardless of their vertical industry. The flexibility of the Microsoft Dynamics platform in conjunction with extensive marketing support, education opportunities and certifications provide both value-added resellers (VARs) and independent software vendors (ISVs) with unlimited opportunities to differentiate themselves within the marketplace. Partners are now well- equipped to secure sales, increase their revenue and maintain high levels of customer satisfaction.

"For us, the shift to a roles-based user model has allowed us to become more important to our clients," said Bruce Steele, executive vice president of strategy at ePartners, a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner with expertise in a variety of industries including healthcare, manufacturing, professional services and the public sector. Over the past decade, ePartners has established itself as one of the leading Microsoft Business Solutions consultancies in the world, and has provided strategic business solutions and consulting services to more than 8,000 companies in more than 45 countries and 50 industries. "We differentiate ourselves by focusing on helping businesses get the most out of their technology investments through broader and deeper user adoption. Microsoft Dynamics' ease of use and roles-based user model are allowing our clients to get there," Steele said. "We're excited that with every deployment, we're truly optimizing a business."

About Microsoft Dynamics

Microsoft Dynamics is a line of financial, customer relationship and supply chain management solutions that helps businesses work more effectively. Delivered through a network of channel partners providing specialized services, these integrated, adaptable business management solutions work like and with familiar Microsoft software to streamline processes across an entire business.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

NOTE: Microsoft, Microsoft Dynamics, Excel, Windows, SharePoint, Visual Studio and Outlook are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp., FRx Software Corp., Microsoft Development Center Copenhagen ApS or their affiliates in the United States and/or other countries.

Microsoft Development Center Copenhagen ApS is a wholly owned subsidiary of Microsoft Corp.

The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

Microsoft Corp.

CONTACT: Rapid Response Team of Waggener Edstrom Worldwide,
+1-503-443-7070, or [email protected]

Web site: http://www.microsoft.com/

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