Microsoft Preps Its Next-Gen Business Solutions Apps

Redmond is rolling back the covers on a number of Microsoft Business Solutions applications that it plans to roll out in the coming year.

ORLANDO, Fla.—At its annual Microsoft Business Solutions customer conference here, Microsoft Corp. is showing off early versions of a number of its next-generation applications.

During his Monday morning keynote, Doug Burgum, Microsofts senior vice president in charge of the companys small/midsize business division, showed off quick demonstrations of Great Plains 8.0 and Sales for PocketPC, a Microsoft CRM enhancement due to ship this summer.

Microsoft is working on a number of mobile enhancements to its CRM platform, sources close to the company have said.

Microsoft is looking to make its panoply of MBS applications look and feel more like other Microsoft applications. The company is planning to give all of its core MBS applications a face-lift that will make them look like Office 2003 (and especially Outlook). As part of this campaign, Microsoft is working to add the Watson error-reporting technology that is part of Office to its MBS family as well, Burgum said. The company also is working to more tightly integrate its core MBS applications with Office, as well as with MS CRM.

Great Plains 8.0, Microsofts distribution/manufacturing/accounting suite, is due to ship in July 2004. The product will sport a Microsoft Office user interface, as well as tighter integration with Microsoft Office. The new release also will offer customers "a deeper focus on Microsoft Business Solutions Business Portal functionality," according to the company.


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