Microsoft Announces Availability of New Developer Tool For Knowledge Management Solutions

REDMOND, Wash., Oct. 18, 1999 — Microsoft Corp. today announced the availability of a new tool for developers to build tracking and workflow solutions. The Access Workflow Designer for SQL Server TM , previously code-named
“Grizzly,” enables developers to easily design and build Web-based workflow and tracking solutions that can also be used offline. From customer call tracking to expense reporting, almost any team business process that needs to be tracked is improved by using Access Workflow Designer. This tool is available now, free of charge (connect-time charges may apply), to all licensed users of Microsoft® Office 2000 Developer by ordering online at .

By delivering the ability to build solutions that easily track and manage information for teams of knowledge workers, Access Workflow Designer is the first developer tool from Microsoft to target knowledge management scenarios.

“Knowledge management is essential to remain competitive in today’s business environment,”
said Tod Nielsen, vice president of Developer Marketing at Microsoft.
“Developers need to be able to easily build solutions that provide decision-makers with appropriate business information. As part of Office 2000 Developer, the Access Workflow Designer is our first developer tool optimized for building workflow solutions and automating business processes that lend a competitive edge. This is a significant first offering and we are currently working on subsequent tools that will extend this knowledge management capability.”

New Workflow Management Tool for Web-Based Solutions

The Access Workflow Designer is a new feature of Microsoft Office 2000 Developer, combining the power and reliability of SQL Server with the ease of use of Microsoft Access. The Access Workflow Designer helps developers design and build solutions that automate a series of tasks or actions, the order in which they must be performed, and permissions defining who can perform them. These solutions, consisting of Web pages, data and workflow
can be taken offline for users not connected to the corporate network.

For example, an expense-tracking solution developed with the Access Workflow Designer can ensure an expense report is processed through the appropriate series of reviews, including the proper routing, approvals and timing. Various actions, such as automatic e-mail messages to appropriate contacts, can be triggered at select times or by actions throughout the process.

Easily Design and Build Workflow Processes

The graphical capabilities of Access Workflow Designer enable developers to visually build a solution that automates a workflow process, and then deploy that solution via the Web to teams of workers within the organization. The Access Workflow Designer also enables developers to automatically generate workflow-based business rules that reside on SQL Server. These capabilities alleviate the weeks or months of development previously required to apply business rules to SQL Server-based information by customizing a series of tables and stored procedures. To provide the most comprehensive development environment, Microsoft will also provide a developer edition of SQL Server 7.0 with the Access Workflow Designer.

Quickly Build Web Interfaces

With the Access Workflow Designer and Microsoft Access 2000, developers can quickly create data-bound, Web-based interfaces for workflow solutions. This includes a workflow driven tool bar that regulates actions available to users depending on their roles and stage in the process. With this Web-based interface, solutions created using Access Workflow Designer can be managed and deployed easily through the browser.

Enable Offline Solutions

Through a series of wizards, developers can quickly enable a solution to be taken offline for mobile end users. The Access Workflow Designer will automatically optimize desktop replication, including Web interface, data and workflow rules, for individual user scenarios. The Access Workflow Designer enables complete resynchronization when the solution is reconnected online. The business rules and SQL Server data integrity will both be preserved, and any conflicts from multiple offline changes will automatically be resolved.

Familiar Development Platform

Using the familiar interfaces and tools of Office Developer, Access Workflow Designer extends functionality for applications targeting the second-largest development platform after the Microsoft Windows® operating system — Microsoft Office. Currently, there are 2.3 million professional developers who target Microsoft Office as a development platform. Microsoft Office 2000 Developer is the edition of Office designed for professional developers building and deploying solutions with Microsoft Office 2000. Office Developer includes Microsoft Office 2000 Premium (Word, Excel, the Outlook® messaging and collaboration client, the PowerPoint® presentation graphics program, Microsoft Access and the FrontPage® Web site creation and

management tool) as well as professional productivity tools, documentation and sample code for quickly building solutions with Microsoft Office.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
) 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.

Microsoft, Windows, Outlook, PowerPoint and FrontPage are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

Other product or company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.

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