Microsoft Business Solutions rolled out its road map for the future of its applications business at the Convergence 2004 conference in Florida this week, with product integration being the order of the day.
During his keynote address, Doug Burgum, senior vice president of Microsoft Business Solutions Business Group, talked about 'Project Green', the Microsoft drive to create a new code base to unify Great Plains, Navision, Axapta and Solomon sometime in the 2005/2006 time frame.
"The core idea is for us to have this stuff work really, really well together" Burgum said. "Our goal is not to set up separate, unrelated organizations. Microsoft has invested $6.8 billion on integrated innovation... theres never been anything like this, the deep focus as an industry to advance the state of the art.
"When you think about changing the world, [remember] we're living in a remarkable time with optimism for the world to be different, based on the observation that there is so much going on in so many fields. There is a coming together of capability and ideas. It's a time of convergence".
Burgum also showed off a demo of Microsoft CRM Sales for Outlook on a Windows Mobile-based Pocket PC. Sales users will be able to review data they choose to carry on the device before meetings and let them capture information gathered during sales calls or meetings, the company said. When the device is synchronised with Microsoft CRM, all the data can be uploaded automatically into the system.
Microsoft Great Plains 8.0 will feature manufacturing and project accounting, better integration with Microsoft Office and a deeper focus on portal functionality. General availability for Microsoft Great Plains 8.0 is expected in North America in July 2004.
Microsoft Business Solutions Navision 4.0 - due in October -boasts a improved user experience, greater manufacturing functionality and a new upgrade toolkit.
Meanwhile Microsoft Business Portal 2.5. will include requisition management and project self-service capabilities such as time and expense management, electronic document delivery, enhancements to human-resource management self-service and integration with the Microsoft Office Solution Accelerator for Sarbanes-Oxley.