Microsoft Corp.s Business Solutions division is enhancing one of its lesser-known business software suites with capabilities that should help users better manage projects through a more unified environment.
Solomon 6.0, which was announced last week and is geared toward the smaller end of the SMB (small and midsize business) sector, integrates a number of standard functions with capabilities from other Microsoft offerings for a more streamlined approach to project management.
For example, this latest version of Solomon consolidates accounting and project tasks into one system for better accounting and payroll processes. In addition, the suite is now integrated with a handful of Microsoft environments, including Office Project, FRx and SharePoint Services, with enhanced integration to Microsoft Business Solutions Business Portal 2.5.
The integration with Office Project enables users to be assigned to tasks within Solomons Project Controller—rather than going outside to another application. Accounting and payroll functions are also integrated for a more cohesive project management work area, said Microsoft officials, in Redmond, Wash.
The meshing of Solomon with the latest version of FRx, Version 6.8, brings better reporting and analytics features, officials said. FRx has recently been upgraded to include a Currency Translation module, integration with Office Excel 2003 and support for XBRL (Extensible Business Reporting Language) Version 2.0.
Microsoft uses Windows SharePoint Services as the underlying structure of its Business Portal. With the 6.0 upgrade—and integration with the portal—Solomon users will be able to store, share and edit Word, Excel and other documents in the portal, officials said.
At the same time, with the integration to the latest version of Business Portal, users have the ability to build a project desktop that brings together what were previously disparate elements.
Diane Goldman, chief financial officer at Chalk & Vermilion Fine Arts Inc., is upgrading her current system to Solomon 6.0—a change that is coming none too soon.
"I operate five different companies, so well be using [the consolidated accounting and project tasks] to consolidate the financials," said Goldman, in Greenwich, Conn. "Now we do it manually. Im still on a DOS-based system."
Solomon 6.0 will be available this month in the United States and Canada priced at about $4,500 per user.