Information Workers at Companies Using Microsoft Office System Improve Communication and Collaboration

REDMOND, Wash., Oct. 16, 2003 — Microsoft Corp. today announced that American Management Systems Inc. (AMS), Graphic Packaging International Inc., Honeywell International Inc., Lockheed Martin Corp. and Virgin Entertainment are among the companies now achieving greater individual, team and organizational productivity using Microsoft’s communication and collaboration solutions. Enterprise companies participating in Microsoft’s early adopter program reported an average productivity gain of 25 percent through use of the communication and collaboration capabilities in the new Microsoft
Office System, which is scheduled for release Oct. 21.

Inefficient, expensive collaboration is a major business challenge in today’s economy. The Microsoft Office System meets the collaboration challenge head-on by delivering easy-to-use programs, servers and services that help streamline communication and encourage collaboration both inside and outside of organizations. Companies are adopting the user-centric technology in the Microsoft Office System as a way to increase individual, team and organizational responsiveness, as well as eliminate inefficiencies inherent in collaboration today. Customers report that the Microsoft Office System provides measured collaborative benefits such as shortening project cycle times, reducing the number of meetings teams have inside their organizations by one-third, cutting operating costs from 10 percent to 20 percent, and increasing customer satisfaction, customer retention and revenue generation by as much as 20 percent.

Microsoft products that contribute to enhanced end-user communication and collaboration include the 2003 editions of Microsoft Office, Microsoft Office SharePoint (TM) Portal Server 2003, Microsoft Windows®
SharePoint Services, Microsoft Exchange Server 2003, Microsoft Office Live Meeting, Microsoft Office Project 2003 and Microsoft Office Project Server 2003, and Microsoft Office Live Communications Server 2003.

“In designing the new Microsoft Office System, we worked extensively with customers to understand how we could best help them solve business challenges such as managing rapidly changing business conditions, responding to customers more quickly, faster products and services innovation, and improving customer business relationships. With today’s diverse work environments posing a significant barrier to productivity, it was no surprise to hear over and over again that helping their employees better collaborate was at the top of their lists,” said Joe Eschbach, corporate vice president of the Information Worker Product Management Group at Microsoft. “Early adopter customers tell us that Microsoft Office System products are already providing tangible, significant impact on their businesses, with average increases in customer satisfaction and retention of 10 percent, costs savings in travel and expenditures averaging 10 percent, and cost savings in document creation averaging 20 percent. They also report a 20 percent increase in organizational collaboration and team productivity using these solutions.”

For example, Virgin Entertainment needed a better way for its headquarters to communicate information about sales promotions and campaigns to 23 store locations. In addition, Virgin was looking for a more effective way for corporate headquarters to share daily sales projections with stores and, in return, for stores to report actual sales figures back to the corporate headquarters.

To address these needs, Virgin Entertainment is implementing Microsoft Office SharePoint Portal Server 2003 and Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services to help its 1,500 employees collaborate more efficiently by easily creating team sites and personal portal pages, called My Sites. This solution will provide a way for corporate headquarters and individual stores to share key sales information with one another as well as a means for corporate headquarters to disseminate details on special sales promotions. To take advantage of additional collaborative benefits between Windows SharePoint Services and the core Office suite, Virgin Entertainment will soon be upgrading its desktops to Microsoft Office 2003 editions.

“The SharePoint Products and Technologies solution we are using will allow us to distribute corporate information more quickly to employees, improving our ability to execute on sales campaigns,” said Paul Duchouquette, senior IT manager at Virgin Entertainment. “In addition, being able to quickly and easily share key sales data between corporate headquarters and retail outlets provides us with more accurate and timely information on how we are meeting our goals. This solution will help us better respond to key business needs and improve our bottom line.”

Honeywell, a diversified technology and manufacturing company, streamlined communications and collaboration efforts with thousands of engineers worldwide by integrating Microsoft Office Live Meeting into its intranet. This solution has allowed Honeywell to conduct thousands of Live Meeting sessions involving its employees worldwide.

“We needed a solution that would easily enable our employees to keep up to speed wherever they work,” said Lee Allen, manager of eBusiness Operations at Honeywell. “Live Meeting has empowered us to accelerate projects more efficiently from anywhere on the globe.”

AMS, a global business and IT consulting firm to the government and financial services and communications industries around the globe, has project teams that span geographic boundaries. More than half of AMS’ 4,500 consultants are constantly on the road supporting clients. It is important for companies such as AMS to have a system that enables road warriors to access information and resources wherever they are in the world. For example, AMS needed a solution that could integrate and search across enterprise systems. AMS is deploying Microsoft Office System members SharePoint Portal Server 2003, Windows SharePoint Services and Project Server to create an “Information Mindset and Infrastructure” to improve communication and collaboration of its geographically dispersed consultants, whether in support of marketing and sales efforts or delivery of a critical customer engagement.

“AMS needed a solution that was easy to use, with obvious value, to enable a shift from individual productivity to collaborative productivity,” said Donald Hirsch, vice president of information technology at AMS. “Access to critical information and intellectual property will no longer require knowledge of which repository to look in, but rather will be available in real time across the enterprise.”

Lockheed Martin, one of the world’s premier advanced technology systems integration companies, was in search of a solution that would enhance communications capabilities for employees around the globe. As an early adopter of Live Communications Server, Microsoft’s enterprise-grade instant messaging platform, Lockheed Martin is able to streamline communications and collaboration with “presence” capabilities found in instant messaging technologies.

“Collaboration is an integral business driver throughout Lockheed Martin,” said Massimo Villinger, chief technology officer for Enterprise Information Systems at Lockheed Martin. “With instant messaging type of ‘presence’ at our fingertips, employees are finding easier ways to perform tasks associated with basic daily collaboration.”

Graphic Packaging International, North America’s largest supplier of folding carton packaging to multinational food and consumer companies, credits its success to its ability to keep costs down and deliver products on time. With dozens of production plants across the country and hundreds of traveling salespeople, Graphic Packaging International counts on e-mail to collaborate on packaging designs, send proposals to customers and submit orders, as well as for ongoing internal company communications. To stay ahead of the curve, Graphic Packaging International is upgrading to Exchange Server 2003 and Microsoft Office Outlook®
2003 to outfit employees with a better desktop messaging environment that will increase productivity, provide faster performance and better protect users from junk e-mail.

“Exchange 2003 provides new and more flexible options to give mobile workers access to information, whether they are in their car, at their customers’ location, on the production floor or at the airport,” said Chris Flowers, IT engineering manager at Graphic Packaging International. “Exchange and Outlook now work better over dial-up or slow network connections, and users can actually increase productivity by continuing to work in e-mail while their mailbox synchronizes in the background.”

Flowers also says the effectiveness of the new spam filters in Outlook 2003 gives everyone in the company an extra 20 minutes each morning to focus on more important tasks that map back to business objectives.

About the Microsoft Office System

The Microsoft Office System is an easy way to help more people use information to positively impact their business. Through a system of familiar and easy-to-use programs, servers, services and solutions, users can connect people and organizations to information, business processes and each other — helping ensure that they derive the most value out of information. The Microsoft Office System consists of the 2003 editions of Microsoft Office, Microsoft Office SharePoint Portal Server 2003, Microsoft Office Project and Project Server 2003, Microsoft Exchange Server 2003, Microsoft Office Live Communications Server 2003, Microsoft Office Live Meeting, Microsoft Office FrontPage® 2003, Microsoft Office InfoPath (TM) 2003, Microsoft Office OneNote (TM) 2003, Microsoft Office Publisher 2003, Microsoft Office Visio®
2003 and the Microsoft Office Solution Accelerators. Enabling technologies, such as Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services and Microsoft Windows Server (TM) 2003, enhance the features and functionality of products in the Microsoft Office System.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) 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, Outlook, FrontPage, InfoPath, OneNote, Visio and Windows Server 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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