Q&A: Microsoft Showcases More Solutions Developed On the Microsoft Office System

REDMOND, Wash., Dec. 3, 2004 — Microsoft’s Office Solution Accelerator program is evolving to become the Solution Showcase for the Microsoft Office System. The new showcase will highlight solutions that address key business challenges using the Microsoft Office System and show customers how they can get more value from investments in Microsoft technologies. The new program will focus on solutions that address a broad array of business challenges that are applicable to a wide range of customers. Additionally, the showcase will have a strong emphasis on the partners who are building solutions with the Microsoft Office System. As a result, customers will not only be able to see what is possible with the Microsoft Office System, but will also be able to connect directly with partners that can deliver corresponding solutions.

PressPass spoke with Kim Carnesale , General Manager, Information Worker New Markets Solutions Group, about the success of Office Solutions Accelerators and how the new Solution Showcase will benefit customers.

PressPass: What have you learned in the year since the first Office Solution Accelerators were released?

Carnesale: We have received great feedback from our customers and partners about the Office Solution Accelerators; they loved how the accelerators provided great examples of the power of the Microsoft Office System. Over the past year there has been a huge demand for more examples across various industries and business challenges.

It was also interesting to learn that overall the accelerators ended up being great conversation starters, but that the code we provided was not as valuable as the ability to demonstrate how the Microsoft Office System can be used in new ways to solve key business problems. As a result, the accelerators were most valuable in the discovery process of what was possible with the Microsoft Office System, and then customers would work with partners to develop specific solutions based on their specific needs. We are therefore going to focus on demonstrating a broader range of technical capabilities to address a broader set of business challenges rather than providing a lot of code. We will be highlighting the scenarios from the existing Office Solution Accelerators in the new Solution Showcase, as well as providing additional scenarios.

PressPass: How will the new Solution Showcase benefit Microsoft Office System users and provide opportunities for partners who want to develop solutions on the Microsoft Office System?

Carnesale: Solutions highlighted in the Solution Showcase will demonstrate how to address a broad range of key business challenges using the products and technologies in the Microsoft Office System. We have a large and constantly expanding base of strong partners who are building solutions with the Microsoft Office System. We want to help build awareness of those solutions, and help customers identify the solutions and partners that can best address their business challenges. We will also work closely with partners to ensure they have the technical information needed to develop solutions based on the Microsoft Office System.

In addition, we will provide information and demonstrations for business and technical decision makers on how the Microsoft Office System can better enable them to meet their business needs and improve their overall return on investment.

PressPass: What is the future of the existing Office Solutions Accelerators for Proposals, Recruiting, Sarbanes-Oxley and Six Sigma?

Carnesale: These existing Office Solution Accelerators will continue to be highlighted as part of the Solution Showcase. Additionally, we will make the code from these accelerators available to partners as sample solution code via the Solution Showcase site in the first part of 2005.

PressPass: What are examples of the business problems you anticipate showcasing?

Carnesale: Our goal is to help customers address key business problems and show how they can get more value out of their software investments by demonstrating what is possible with the Microsoft Office System across a wide range of business scenarios. For example, we might demonstrate how to improve the employee performance review process using the Microsoft Office System. Another example would be to show how the process of managing clinical forms in a healthcare environment can be improved through the collaboration capabilities of the Microsoft Office System. We will also continue to work closely with customers to assess the business challenges they face, and help them identify ways they can leverage the power of the Microsoft Office System platform to help address those issues.

PressPass: Are partners considered key players in the Solution Showcase strategy?

Carnesale: Absolutely. Microsoft has a long history of working closely with partners to help solve problems for customers. The Solution Showcase builds on that strong tie with partners. We see our partners creating more targeted solutions for particular industries, meeting unique needs by leveraging the range of capabilities of the Microsoft Office System. We’ll also be providing partners with technical guidance to help them solve a variety of business problems with Microsoft technologies, and we will help showcase their solutions to customers who can benefit from using them.

Currently there are a lot of great solutions already built on the Office System. We’re trying to marry customers with partners that are developing those solutions. The Solution Showcase will work toward this goal as a great way to showcase the solutions that our partners deliver.

PressPass: How can customers find Microsoft Office System-based solutions from partners?

Carnesale: The Solution Showcase will include listings of partner solution offerings for specific business scenarios across various industries which customers worldwide can access. In early 2005, customers will be able to see numerous examples of partner solutions developed on the Microsoft Office System via the Solution Showcase.

PressPass: Are customers who have IT departments with development capabilities able to directly access the Solution Showcase?

Carnesale: Yes. We’ll provide customers the same kind of information and guidance that we’re providing to partners. We want to help our customers get easy access to the solutions and partners that can address those needs effectively. If they would prefer to develop solutions in-house, they can certainly do that.

PressPass: Office Solution Accelerators were conceived to help customers build on their software investments and drive higher return on their investment in the Microsoft Office System and other enterprise applications. Is the Solution Showcase still in line with that original vision?

Carnesale: Yes absolutely, the Solution Showcase will certainly help customers to extend their investments. We realize that customers each have unique business needs so our goal with the Solution Showcase is to demonstrate how they can leverage the Office System to address a broad array of business needs while realizing efficiencies across their business and optimizing their return on investment.

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