Microsoft Business Solutions Accelerates Investment in Partners’ Vertical Success

SAN DIEGO, March 7, 2005 — Today at Convergence 2005, Microsoft Corp. announced plans to increase resources and provide new tools and offerings for Microsoft®
Business Solutions independent software vendors (ISVs) and value-added resellers (VARs). All efforts are designed to accelerate the Microsoft Business Solutions Group’s partner-driven vertical strategy, providing strong opportunities for partners to align their services and solutions with their customers’ specific needs.

By the end of fiscal year 2006, the Microsoft Business Solutions Group will align 50 percent of its existing partners to a vertical solution or service. In addition, field resources and through-partner marketing will be aligned with verticals. While initial efforts will emphasize 14 verticals within manufacturing, distribution, public sector and services, the Microsoft Business Solutions Group will continue to provide sales and co-marketing support to a broad ecosystem of partners across many verticals.

“Microsoft Business Solutions has a strong partner ecosystem today that brings the advanced industry-specific functionality to our solutions that customers require,” said Glenn Bray, senior director of industry strategy for Microsoft Business Solutions at Microsoft. “New offerings and investments from Microsoft are designed to give our partners a leg up, accelerating their competitive advantage and revenue potential in target market segments.”

Tools Help Partners Take Advantage of Untapped Market Opportunity

To support partners in generating customer leads in their target markets, the Microsoft Business Solutions Group will provide resources for the field in the areas of demand generation, advertising, sales support, lead management and more. More than 800 Microsoft Business Solutions team members in the field will be trained and empowered to help partners succeed in targeted verticals. In addition, the Microsoft Business Solutions Group will provide improved tools for the field, including data on vertical opportunities, an improved map of partner solutions, and a vertical business planning guide book, all designed to help partners plan and execute their vertical strategy.

Specific tools and offerings include the following:

  • Vertical opportunity map. The Microsoft Business Solutions Group will provide partners with the data necessary to assess opportunities that exist in specific geographic regions worldwide. This data includes a total count of business entities as well as industry and vertical purchase rates, allowing partners to get a good estimate of the market opportunity in their region or country. Partners are encouraged to use this data in combination with their own data to determine the relative attractiveness of serving a targeted market segment.

  • Solution Finder. To increase the visibility of Microsoft’s extensive portfolio of partner vertical solutions, a Web-based Solution Finder tool will launch in the second half of calendar year 2005. The tool will help customers select industry-specific partner solutions and related Microsoft financial management, supply chain management and customer relationship management solutions. In addition, partner account managers can use this tool to help identify opportunities for partners to develop their own intellectual property (IP) or identify opportunities for them to work with other partners to deliver a complete industry-specific solution. Solution Finder will work with data from the Microsoft Partner Program systems to streamline the partner profiling experience.

  • Microsoft’s Partner Channel Builder. Microsoft’s Partner Channel Builder, a combination of an online tool and structured worldwide networking events, allows all Gold Certified and Certified partners, including partners selling Microsoft Business Solutions, to collaborate in an effort to deliver more complete industry-specific solutions. Partners may access the online tool at http://www.microsoft.com/partner/channelbuilder .

  • Vertical lead distribution. A vertical lead grid will be incorporated into Microsoft’s demand-generation processes to help the field effectively distribute sales leads to partners who have relevant solutions and/or industry expertise.

  • Industry Builder. Also announced today is Industry Builder, an ISV initiative designed to deliver industry-enabled business management applications that can be further extended into new markets by VARs and ISVs. As part of the Industry Builder initiative, select ISVs will develop industry modules according to Microsoft’s quality standards and package them with a customer support contract that includes both the Microsoft Business Solutions core modules and the Industry Builder application(s). The Industry Builder initiative is immediately available for ISVs focused on developing industry-specific solutions for Microsoft Business Solutions–Axapta®
    , and will extend to other Microsoft Business Solutions applications later this year.

Partners who would like more information on Microsoft Business Solutions partner tools and offerings should contact mbsprtnr@microsoft.com .

About Microsoft Business Solutions

Microsoft Business Solutions products and services are financial, customer relationship and supply chain management applications for small and midsize businesses, large organizations, and divisions of global enterprises. Delivered through a network of channel partners providing specialized services, these integrated, adaptable business applications work like and with familiar Microsoft software to streamline processes across an entire business.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

Microsoft and Axapta are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp., Microsoft Business Solutions ApS or their affiliates in the United States and/or other countries.

Microsoft Business Solutions ApS is a wholly owned subsidiary of Microsoft Corp.

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

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