LAS VEGAS, September 9, 1998 — More than 3,000 software developers joined a variety of corporations and independent software vendors in Las Vegas today as the first Microsoft Business Applications Conference opened at the MGM Grand Hotel.
The developers are on hand for three days of in-depth technical briefings and workshops on how to build and operate a digital nervous system, a term coined by Microsoft to describe the ideal computer infrastructure of a corporation. The conference will also feature keynote addresses by Microsoft executives, including company president Steve Ballmer.
“What we heard from corporate America was that a hands-on, how-to forum was needed to show software developers how to create complete solutions that worked with existing computer systems in which large companies have invested millions of dollars,” said James Utzschneider, director of evangelism for Microsoft’s Application Developers Customer Unit. “And that’s what the conference will do. We will demonstrate real solutions featuring real customers like Merrill Lynch and Federal Express, then break those solutions down to code, put them back together again, and use a theoretical situation to demonstrate how everything can work together.”
The conference will be fully interactive and extremely technical. To encourage questions and stimulate discussion, technical overviews of the five conference tracks — e-commerce, line of business, tracking, collaboration and business intelligence — were posted on the conference Web site several weeks ago.
“The idea here is that people download the technical documents, then come prepared to discuss just exactly what is the right way to make everything work together,” Utzschneider said. “In fact, the technical evangelists will get down to code very quickly during their presentations. It’s a computer geek’s dream.”
To demonstrate how the different tracks link together, the conference will show two fictitious companies being linked electronically. Numerous real-world technology demonstrations — many from large corporations — will each showcase a part of the overall infrastructure needed to fully integrate those two companies electronically. Attendees will be able to hear the perspectives of system architects who designed the real-world solutions being demonstrated, and hear from the customers who have deployed and are managing those solutions – many of which manage to link disparate computer systems, including Unix, Windows and mainframes.
Microsoft Vice President Bob Muglia delivers the opening conference keynote on Wednesday morning. At noon on Wednesday, breakout sessions for the five tracks begin and run until Friday noon, after which Ballmer and Dr. Jim Gray from Microsoft Research deliver closing keynotes.
Also on hand will be an on-site laboratory featuring various products that are being showcased during the conference. Attendees will leave with source code, sample applications and detailed technical papers explaining how to help their company or customers develop computer systems that are integrated, efficient and cost-effective.