Microsoft E-Business Acceleration Initiative Enables Companies of Any Size To Sell Through Any Electronic Marketplace

REDMOND, Wash., Nov. 6, 2000 — Microsoft Corp. today announced E-Business Acceleration, an integrated business-to-business (B2B) initiative for empowering suppliers of any size to effectively extend their selling capabilities via the Internet. This initiative encompasses new products, programs and industry partnerships, making it easy for any business — from the home office to the enterprise — to sell wherever buyers are located, whether direct to the customer, through an e-procurement system or as part of an e-marketplace. Based on the Microsoft® .NET Enterprise Servers, E-Business Acceleration supports both hosted and in-house solutions with the ability to easily move to more scalable and customizable offerings as sales grow and business needs change.

“Through E-Business Acceleration, Microsoft has unleashed the true power of e-commerce,”
said Chris Atkinson, vice president of the .NET Enterprise Solutions Group at Microsoft.
“By reducing the development effort and expense of connecting any size supplier to any electronic marketplace, we are enabling e-businesses to generate new revenues and reach new markets with their products.”

Solutions for Any Supplier

A distinctive attribute of the E-Business Acceleration initiative is that it provides e-marketplace connectivity solutions for suppliers of any size or complexity. Hosted solutions are provided for businesses wanting access to e-marketplaces without significant cost or IT investment, and in-house solutions for companies needing richer e-commerce capabilities, greater customer interaction, or significant supply chain integration.

Supporting these solutions are two new offerings from Microsoft:

  • Microsoft bCentral Commerce Manager. Microsoft bCentral™
    Commerce Manager is designed to help small businesses manage every aspect of their e-commerce activity and reach buyers beyond their own Web site. Commerce Manager helps business owners manage catalogs, orders and payment processing. Businesses can move their merchandise and services into another online marketplace with a simple point and click of a mouse. Commerce Manager also makes it easy for small businesses to
    “plug in”
    and start transacting with larger trading partners. One consolidated view of orders shows small businesses the entire scope of their e-commerce activity. bCentral Commerce Manager will be available in early November.

  • Microsoft Supplier Accelerator. Microsoft Supplier Accelerator offers an intelligent abstraction for managing catalog publishing and order processing across the leading e-marketplaces and directly with buyer applications, and is extensible to accommodate additional e-business sales channels. Supplier Accelerator is built on top of Commerce Server 2000, BizTalk™ Server 2000, and SQL Server™
    2000, providing the most powerful foundation for e-commerce. Supplier Accelerator has been in use by Microsoft partners since September with the kickoff of the Pilot Program for E-Business Acceleration. Pricing, licensing and availability information will be announced at a later date.

“In today’s new economy environment businesses expect their vendors and partners to be fully e-commerce-enabled while consumers expect 24×7 access to businesses via the Internet, making it essential for small businesses to have B2B and B2C marketplace access to be successful,”
said Satya Nadella, vice president of Microsoft bCentral.
“To date, the ability to sell through these marketplaces has been limited for small organizations. bCentral Commerce Manager, part of the comprehensive suite of bCentral business automation services, brings small businesses an easy-to-use e-commerce service that provides one-stop access to large marketplaces and help in building their catalog, selling products, managing sales and processing orders.”

Supplier Accelerator can be used for hosted and custom in-house solutions. Companies looking for a complete solution based on Supplier Accelerator can buy through new OEM programs such as Dell Computer Corp.’s Supplier Advantage. Supplier Advantage combines hardware, Microsoft e-business software (including Supplier Accelerator) and consulting support to enable connectivity to e-marketplaces in as little as 30 days. For enterprise organizations, new and expanded partnerships with leading systems integrators, including Andersen Consulting, Compaq Computer Corp., KPMG Consulting LLC and Cap Gemini Ernst & Young, can help them customize Supplier Accelerator solutions, providing rich integration with the most complex supply-chain requirements. Partners providing ASP-hosted solutions based on Supplier Accelerator will be announced in the coming months.

Because all these solutions are built on a common set of Microsoft .NET Enterprise Servers, E-Business Acceleration offers seamless migration to the more scalable and customizable offerings as business needs change.

“Spartan Controls, a mid-sized Fisher-Rosemount local business partner, is an engineered products and process controls solutions company that provides mission-critical industrial solutions on a 24×7 basis,”
said Rick Anderson, vice president of Business Development at Spartan.
“Our goal is to offer an increased spectrum of value to the widest range of customers. We want to offer reduced transactional cost through direct customer links or trading exchanges and move up the value curve from the transactional to collaborative business-to-business relationships. With the open architecture of the Microsoft platform we are able to achieve our goals, enhance customer interactions, and create value for both the customer and Spartan.”

Solutions for Any Marketplace

The E-Business Acceleration initiative is unique in its ability to provide connectivity solutions to four of the largest e-marketplace vendors: Ariba Inc., Clarus Corp., Commerce One Inc. and VerticalNet Inc. In the past, it has been difficult and expensive to connect with multiple e-marketplaces due to differences in their underlying technology. Microsoft’s .NET Enterprise Servers with the extended functionality offered in Supplier Accelerator is the solution to this challenge, delivering rapid connectivity, order processing, back-end system integration and real-time tracking of e-marketplace sales data. By providing connectivity for the leading e-marketplaces from one integrated system, the Microsoft platform with Supplier Accelerator enables suppliers of any size to reach more buyers than ever, lowering costs and increasing revenue opportunity.

“By providing businesses a platform approach that is agnostic as it relates to e-marketplaces, Microsoft is empowering suppliers all sizes to choose where they market their goods,”
said Steve Garone, vice president at IDC.
“The breadth of the E-Business Acceleration offering makes it one of the first offerings of its kind.”

Speaking on behalf of the General Motors Supplier Diversity Group Exchange Enabling Program, David Brown, executive director of General Motors’ TradeXchange said,
“We wanted to make sure we had someone who could support a large and diverse supply base, located not only across the United States but the World. [We were looking for an industry partner that] had relationships with the suppliers, had the infrastructure to support this magnitude of initiative and obviously had a philosophical alignment — both in terms of corporate citizenship and community responsibility — and Microsoft quickly bubbled to the top.”

Supporting Programs and Partnerships

Additional programs and partnerships supporting the E-Business Acceleration initiative include the Pilot Program, made up of several suppliers and partners using E-Business Acceleration technologies to streamline the process for connecting to multiple e-marketplaces; an Advisory Council, comprising suppliers, market makers, ASPs, ISVs, Microsoft Certified Solution Providers and global systems integrators who will meet regularly regarding supplier enablement issues; a Jump-Start training program for educating solution providers and systems integrators on Microsoft e-business technology; and expanded partnerships with four of the leading marketplace platform vendors: Ariba, Clarus, Commerce One and VerticalNet. Additional companies participating in the overall E-Business Acceleration initiative include Amphire Solutions Inc., Andersen Consulting LLC, Cap Gemini Ernst & Young, Compaq Computer Corp., Dell Computer Corp, KPMG, Mark Master Inc., Spartan Controls Ltd. and Wachovia Securities Inc.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
) is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software — any time, any place and on any device.

Microsoft, bCentral and BizTalk are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

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