Microsoft Launches Windows DNA for Manufacturing

SEATTLE, Feb. 23, 1999 — Steve Ballmer, president of Microsoft Corp., today launched a collaborative initiative with customers, developers and manufacturers aimed at producing a technical architecture that will reduce costs and simplify the process of deploying, integrating and managing systems for manufacturing enterprises. The architecture, called Windows® Distributed interNet Applications (Windows DNA) for Manufacturing, will allow disparate manufacturing software applications to integrate seamlessly, enabling a proficient information exchange among distributed solutions from the shop floor and enterprise resource planning (ERP) processes.

This integration will improve a manufacturer’s ability to gather, share and analyze key data elements and information throughout the enterprise in real time, resulting in better, more proactive business decisions, greater efficiency and reduced costs.

“Integration is a major key to the success of deploying a modern manufacturing system, but piecing the components together to produce such a system is often difficult, time-consuming and expensive,” Ballmer said. “We’re striving to make this process easier and more cost-effective for customers by developing the comprehensive new Windows DNA for Manufacturing architecture, which will help combine the Windows platform, various leading line-of-business applications and legacy solutions to create manufacturing-specific ‘digital nervous systems.'”

Ballmer went on to cite recent predictions from a leading industry analyst firm, AMR Research. The firm’s preliminary 1998 estimate of the manufacturing execution systems (MES) market was nearly $300 million, of which Windows NT® operating system-based products led with 49 percent. AMR Research also anticipates that over the next several years, Microsoft will continue to make advances in the enterprise applications customer segment. AMR Research expects that by 2002, two-thirds (66 percent) of all ERP shipments, an integral part of the manufacturing process, will be made on Windows NT.

Windows DNA for Manufacturing is being developed and supported by industry-leading developers, hardware vendors and systems integrators. These include Aspen Technology, Camstar Systems Inc., Cincom Systems Inc., Compaq Computer Corp., Ernst & Young, Honeywell Inc., ICONICS Inc., Intellution Inc., Macola Software, Marcam Solutions Inc., National Instruments, OLE for Process Control (OPC), Rockwell Automation, SAP AG, Sequencia Corp., Siemens AG, Symix Systems Inc., USDATA Corp. and Wonderware Corp. To date, pieces of the framework have been successfully implemented at companies such as Ocean Spray Cranberries and Gates Rubber Co.

“By utilizing the Windows DNA for Manufacturing architecture, we’ve been able to integrate all aspects of our operations and reduce our development time by 30 percent to
50 percent,” said Mike Smith, national manufacturing systems manager of Ocean Spray. “We think the Windows platform and Intellution’s industrial automation software, coupled with technologies such as the SAP DCOM Connector, provide us with a scalable foundation for expanding our application base and growing our business globally.”

The Windows DNA for Manufacturing framework relies on the Component Object Model (COM) as its foundation and acts as common “plumbing” in Microsoft® Windows-based manufacturing applications, making them compatible with disparate applications, networks and legacy systems. Representing an integrated approach for building distributed, scalable, multitier applications, the Windows DNA for Manufacturing framework allows developers and manufacturers to focus on producing and implementing value-added business solutions rather than systems integration. Windows DNA for Manufacturing links islands of information within a manufacturing environment, improving information flow and bridging the gaps between enterprise applications as well as supply chain business partners.

“Windows DNA for Manufacturing complements the open SAP Business Framework very well. By using the SAP business-oriented application programming interfaces (BAPIs) and COM as a technical interface method, other independent software vendors (ISV) can integrate and interoperate with SAP software efficiently and easily,” said Heinz Roggenkemper, executive vice president of development for SAP Labs. “For manufacturers, this results in reduced time to deploy and continually improve business processes.”

“Ernst & Young is excited to be a part of the Windows DNA for Manufacturing launch,” said Kevin Mahanay, Ernst & Young partner for the manufacturing sector. “We’re looking forward to combining our business process expertise with the Windows DNA for Manufacturing architecture and technologies to help our customers achieve measurable and substantial manufacturing benefits.”

Windows DNA is the application development model for the Windows platform. It specifies how to develop robust, scalable, distributed applications using the Windows platform, extend existing data and external applications to support the Internet, and support a wide range of client devices maximizing the reach of an application. The Windows DNA architecture enables

ISVs and organizations to solve industry-specific challenges, while lowering costs associated with deploying and managing information technology systems.

“We are pleased to launch our newest ERP suite, SyteCentre, at the Windows DNA for Manufacturing event,” said Stephen A. Sasser, president and CEO, Symix. “Built exclusively with Microsoft tools, SyteCentre delivers the benefits of DNA today.”

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.

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