SAN DIEGO, March 7, 2005 — Today at Convergence 2005, Microsoft Corp. announced Industry Builder, an independent software vendor (ISV) initiative designed to deliver business management solutions that meet companies’ business-specific needs. As part of the Industry Builder initiative, select ISVs will develop industry modules in accordance with Microsoft’s quality standards and package them with a Microsoft® customer support offering. The Industry Builder initiative will first be introduced for ISVs developing vertical applications for Microsoft Business Solutions–Axapta®
and is planned to be extended to other Microsoft Business Solutions applications later this year.
Companies that need a business management suite often find themselves working with multiple solutions from a number of solution providers to meet their specific business needs, which can often result in slower implementation times and, potentially, higher costs. Industry feedback indicates that these customers want a single source for product support and a reliable point of contact from the solution providers they work with. The Industry Builder initiative fills this customer need by offering a Microsoft support contract that applies to both the Microsoft Axapta core modules and the vertical application modules that were developed by the participating ISVs.
“Today’s customers demand complete solutions that can be easily and affordably modified to meet their organizations’ unique needs,” said Mark A. Jensen, general manager of Microsoft Axapta at Microsoft. “We’re addressing that demand by combining vertical applications developed by ISVs with the core functionality and deep customization options offered in Microsoft Axapta. Ultimately, the Industry Builder initiative will provide customers with a more complete solution while also giving our partner community a more powerful means to compete with other software vendors.”
The Industry Builder initiative will provide the Microsoft partner ecosystem with a more comprehensive and robust set of industry-enabled solutions based on Microsoft Axapta, expanding competitive selling opportunities into new segments. “Partners can add highly valued consulting in delivering that ‘last mile’ of vertical-specific functionality, which today is so important for customers,” Jensen said.
To meet Microsoft’s high standards and global business structure, prospective ISVs will be required to demonstrate overall stability, financial strength and a corporate composition that can deliver application code and provide customer support globally. Their applications must also pass Microsoft’s tests for code quality standards. Once ISVs demonstrate that they have the necessary business qualifications and product development standards to participate in the Industry Builder initiative, the Microsoft Business Solutions development team will work with them to assist with scoping, developing, testing and technical review of their vertical-specific applications. The industry-specific application code will be owned by the ISVs.
Early participants in the Industry Builder initiative are Fullscope Inc. (process manufacturing), foliodev LLC (professional services) and Manhattan Associates Inc. (supply chain execution (SCE)). ISVs may develop applications not only in X++, the Microsoft Axapta native development language, but in any other programming languages supported by the Microsoft .NET Framework.
The Industry Builder initiative coupled with Microsoft Axapta helped Maple Lodge Farms Ltd., one of the largest privately held poultry processors in Canada, decide on a Microsoft Axapta-based solution using process manufacturing components rather than a competing solution. “We use Microsoft solutions throughout our company. It was key to us that Microsoft offered a business management suite that would work tightly with our existing infrastructure,” said Greg Scott, CFO of Maple Lodge Farms. “The fact that Microsoft is willing to take support responsibility for the ISV solution and for the business management suite made it easier for our management team to approve the project.”
For Manhattan Associates Inc., recently named the top supply chain execution vendor by AMR Research, it was a matter of picking the winner when evaluating expansion into the middle-market segment. “We have built a valuable brand over the past 15 years by developing cutting-edge supply chain execution solutions for large enterprise customers,” said Jeff Mitchell, executive vice president of Manhattan Associates. “We believe that Microsoft delivers a combination of tailored functionality with a low total cost of ownership. Utilizing the open .NET Integration Framework, we are able to easily package a joint offering to the market.”
Tom Galambos, vice president for Industry and Vertical Solutions, Tectura Corp., also sees the benefits of Industry Builder. “We believe that Industry Builder provides a great advantage for Microsoft Axapta customers as well as for Microsoft partners and ISVs. Tectura has 1,000 people dedicated to Microsoft solutions of which 200 are focused on Axapta. We will be able to significantly enhance our strategy of approaching the market through vertical solutions and leverage this program in multiple ways to better serve Axapta customers, both through our own service centers across the world and through the Tectura Certified Channel, our large global network of proven and experienced partners,” Galambos said. “Not only will we enroll some of our Tectura-developed ISV solutions as Industry Builder solutions, but we will also be able to offer Industry Builder solutions that are developed by other ISVs and supported by Microsoft to our significant base of Microsoft Axapta customers as well as future customers, thus greatly increasing the combined value that companies get from working with the Microsoft-partner community.”
About Microsoft Business Solutions
Microsoft Business Solutions products and services are integrated, adaptable business applications and services that allow small and midsize businesses, large organizations, and divisions of global enterprises to connect employees, customers and suppliers for improved efficiency. The financial, customer relationship and supply chain management applications work like and with familiar Microsoft products such as Office and Windows®
to streamline processes across an entire organization, giving businesses insight to respond rapidly, plan strategically and execute quickly. Microsoft Business Solutions products and services are delivered through a worldwide network of channel partners that provide specialized services and local support tailored to a company’s needs.
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, Axapta and Windows 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.
Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass on Microsoft’s corporate information pages. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may since have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/contactpr.asp .