Microsoft Announces Accelerator for Six Sigma

PALM SPRINGS, Calif., Jan. 27, 2003 — Microsoft Corp. today announced plans to release a new offering this spring that will map to Six Sigma methodologies. Ted Johnson, corporate vice president of the Business Tools Division at Microsoft, shared details about the Microsoft®
Accelerator for Six Sigma with an audience of Six Sigma and quality professionals at the annual American Society for Quality (ASQ) Six Sigma Conference in Palm Springs, Calif.

The Microsoft Accelerator for Six Sigma is an integrated set of products and services that leverages existing software such as Microsoft Project and Visio®
and is customized for Six Sigma practitioners. The Accelerator provides added functionality designed specifically for Six Sigma organizations, such as interactive Project Guides to lead Six Sigma teams through each phase within the DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control) model. It can help project teams more effectively manage a large number of Six Sigma projects, more easily track their financial impact, optimally utilize and track people resources, manage Six Sigma tools, and electronically share knowledge gathered across the enterprise.

“We are looking hard at how we can develop offerings that improve productivity in all aspects of a company and that enable customers to take greater advantage of the functionality in their software to address specific business problems,”
Johnson said.
“The Microsoft Accelerator for Six Sigma is a great example of an offering that can affect the operations function in a company; not only can it help improve efficiencies, but it is based on software like Microsoft Project, PowerPoint® and Visio that many customers already have in place.”

Microsoft has been practicing Six Sigma internally, and to help ensure that the new offering meets the demands and quality standards of the Six Sigma community, Microsoft developed the Accelerator using Six Sigma tools.

Building Blocks

The Microsoft Accelerator for Six Sigma utilizes the power of Microsoft Office XP Professional, Microsoft Project Server 2002, Microsoft Project Professional 2002, Visio 2002, Microsoft Windows®
2000 Server, SQL Server (TM) 2000 and SharePoint (TM) Team Services, as well as third-party products, services and deployment partners. Together with the Microsoft programs named above, this offering creates an enterprise performance management platform that delivers the tools, guidance and support Six Sigma professionals need to succeed.

Microsoft has been working closely with Apriso Corp., a leading global provider of collaborative execution solutions, on this project and is drawing on the company’s expertise in creating enterprise performance solutions for manufacturing and healthcare companies. In addition, Microsoft is teaming with SigmaPro Inc., a premier supplier of integrated Six Sigma; and Lean consulting and training services.

“Using the Microsoft Accelerator for Six Sigma and Microsoft .NET Web services, Apriso real-time applications support global configuration and deployment of operational processes executed in compliance with company-specific Six Sigma initiatives,”
said Adam Bartkowski, president and CEO of Apriso.

“As a provider of Six Sigma training and consulting services, I am ecstatic about the Microsoft Accelerator for Six Sigma,”
said Douglas Mader, president and CEO of SigmaPro.
“This offering provides unparalleled ease of use, uniformity in project tracking that will set the standard for years to come, and the ability to integrate Six Sigma tools such as process mapping, simulation, optimization and Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA) from within the Microsoft Office suite. Not only will IT departments be able to implement Six Sigma project tracking easily in Microsoft environments, but more important, the cost and benefits of the offering provide a value to Six Sigma companies that is light-years ahead of competitive products.”

Microsoft hopes those attending the ASQ Conference and the Six Sigma community at large will find the Accelerator addresses some of the challenges they’ve experienced in managing projects.

“The Six Sigma community should certainly benefit from the advantages the Microsoft offering promises to offer our practitioners,”
said Elizabeth Keim, president of ASQ.
“A tool that will enable companies to manage Six Sigma projects more efficiently will result in an even larger impact on company bottom lines.”

About Six Sigma

Six Sigma is a data-driven, high-performance approach to analyzing and solving root causes of business problems. It ties the outputs of a business directly to marketplace requirements. As a result, Six Sigma projects lead to reduced costs, process improvement and reduced business cycle times.

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, Visio, PowerPoint, Windows and SharePoint 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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