The latest version of Microsoft Corp.s Business Portal provides users of the companys Great Plains and Solomon business applications with new collaborative capabilities.
Microsoft Business Solutions Business Portal 2.0, released last week, uses Microsofts SharePoint services as its underlying infrastructure for information delivery and collaboration. This adds such SharePoint features as document libraries, event calendars and meeting sites to Business Portal pages as Web Parts.
The new architecture supports sharing and collaborating on documents and eases creation of pages. It also enables users to add Microsoft Excel graphs to portal pages, supports sites for projects and meetings, and lets users connect with external data sources, Microsoft officials said.
Other enhancements to Business Portal 2.0 include multilevel direct reports and performance review functionality in the Great Plains Human Resource Management Self Service Suite, which the portal serves as the interface to.
Solomon customers get a new Payroll Time and Attendance module, which allows employees to enter timecards through Microsoft Business Portal.
Microsoft, of Redmond, Wash., lowered per-user pricing for Business Portal 2.0 to $20 to $40 per user based on the number of licenses. The company also added a new unlimited user license for $40,000.
The new release could get smaller organizations that use Great Plains and Solomon business applications more interested in collaboration than they traditionally have been, said Craig Roth, an analyst with Meta Group Inc.
"Small businesses dont look at collaboration as much as they should," said Roth, in Chicago. "They usually only look at the most basic operational and accounting level. Collaboration is one of the last things they look at. Now that these capabilities are becoming available to them, maybe theyll take a closer look at it and make better use of it."