Microsoft Announces Availability of Next-Generation Intranet Solution Designed to Enable the Knowledge Workplace

REDMOND, Wash., Nov. 27, 2001 — Microsoft Corp. today announced an integrated next-generation solution designed to enhance knowledge worker productivity. The Microsoft® Solution for Intranets (MSI) enables the deployment of an advanced knowledge workplace comprising Web-based team collaboration, information management and discovery, and broadcast delivery of business communications to every employee desktop. The MSI includes prescriptive architecture and deployment guidance for building a comprehensive intranet with SharePoint™ Portal Server, SharePoint Team Services, Office XP, Microsoft SQL Server™ , the Windows® 2000 operating system and Windows Media™
Technologies, as well as implementation services and ongoing product support.

H & R Block, a diversified financial products and services company, is an early adopter of the solution and is already reporting benefits in terms of improved employee productivity, improved operational efficiency and lower desktop support costs. As the market leader for tax preparation services and the nations seventh largest accountancy, H & R Block employs an increasingly diverse and specialized work force of financial advisors, tax professionals and other sales associates. As the company has expanded, its business has undergone rapid growth and transformation. With it has come the need for new product development, increased training and more regular corporate communication.

“Executive management recognized the value-added role that a flexible portal solution would bring to the company,”
said Bernie Wilson, senior vice president of H & R Block Financial Advisors.
“We needed a platform solution that enabled all our financial advisors to easily and quickly search, access and manage information on our products and services, yet also provide centralized administration and secure access. Using the Microsoft [intranet] solution, we were able to get up and running quickly and have near-instant functionality that enabled us to rapidly publish our existing content, thereby allowing our financial advisors to immediately apply it in client-facing situations. The Windows Media Broadcast component has allowed us to replace face-to-face meetings with online product and sales trainings as well as a simplified way to communicate with all financial advisors. The speed of deployment and flexibility of the [Microsoft] solution is already showing great return on investment.”

With the Microsoft Solution for Intranets, organizations will realize increased knowledge worker productivity

and improved business agility. Once deployed, the solution provides a portal for rapid access to business information, including media broadcast, a collaboration space for teams and intuitive document management. The Windows Media Broadcast component of the solution allows corporations to make their communications more effective by delivering real-time or on-demand broadcasts to every employee desktop. Since many of todays organizations are geographically dispersed, Windows Media Broadcast capabilities allow them to cut travel costs and conduct virtual company meetings and online learning initiatives such as field sales training. With the complete MSI, companies also can reduce costs by mining organizational knowledge and leveraging existing IT infrastructures.

Four of the worlds leading systems integrators have embraced the Microsoft Solution for Intranets as an important business value to customers and are building dedicated services around the solution.

  • Avanade Inc. plans to offer integration services for the Microsoft Solution for Intranets. Through a combination of expertise in Microsoft products and a proprietary framework called the Avanade Component Architecture, or ACA.Portal, Avanades solution will help enterprises establish a flexible, reliable and scalable portal solution. More information on the Avanade solution can be found at .

  • Cap Gemini Ernst & Young will offer n-Portal, a knowledge management solution arising from the combination of the Microsoft Solution for Intranets and Cap Gemini Ernst & Youngs expertise in knowledge management. The solution will provide customers with a lower cost of ownership and a customized portal that harnesses the knowledge and capabilities of critical business communities. More information on the Cap Gemini Ernst & Young solution is available at .

  • Compaq Computer Corp. will offer the Compaq Solution for Intranets, which leverages industry-standard Compaq ProLiant servers and Compaq StorageWorks products that have been tested and characterized running Microsoft Solution for Intranets software, as well as complete life-cycle services from Compaq Global Services. More information on the Compaq solution is available at .

  • Hewlett-Packard Co. will offer HP Collaboration Portal Solutions to increase employee productivity and information sharing within enterprise organizations. In addition to providing hardware, software and support services, a dedicated team of HP consultants with in-depth expertise is available to assist customers in designing and implementing customized portals based on Microsoft Solution for Intranets. More information on the HP solution is available at .

“Companies increasingly view corporate intranets as highly leveraged investments that enable employees to work more efficiently and effectively by unlocking knowledge stored within the organization and collaborating on that information with colleagues,”
said Jeff Teper, general manager of the Portal Business Group at Microsoft.
“This solution will give knowledge workers the tools to facilitate better information sharing and retrieval as well as deliver live and on-demand multimedia communication directly to employee desktops.”

About Microsoft Solution Offerings

The Microsoft Solution for Intranets is the third in a series of Microsoft solutions designed to provide focused, business- and industry-specific solutions to customers. The solution offerings combine the power of Microsofts enterprise software (Windows, Windows Servers, Microsoft .NET Enterprise Servers and Office) with prescriptive tools, support and services from Microsoft and partners to solve the most common business and IT problems facing companies today. Other recently announced solutions include the BizTalk™
Accelerator for HIPPA and the Microsoft Solution for Supplier Enablement.

About Microsoft

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, SharePoint, Windows, Windows Media 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.

Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at on Microsofts corporate information pages.

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