Microsoft Drives Plant-to-Enterprise Interoperability With Accelerated Adoption of Key Manufacturing Standards

CHICAGO, March 8, 2005 —
Today at National Manufacturing Week 2005, Microsoft Corp. announced its Plant-to-Enterprise Interoperability initiative with the support of ISA-95 standards that will extend its longtime commitment to the OPC standard for the shop floor. ISA-95 is an international standard that defines the terminology and models used in the integration of business systems at the enterprise level with control systems at the plant-floor level. Microsoft also recently joined and accepted a board position with the Manufacturing Enterprise Solutions Association (MESA), a not-for-profit organization of manufacturers and information system providers focused on leveraging technology in order to better achieve business goals. MESA promotes the exchange of best practices, strategies and innovation in managing manufacturing operations and quality, and in achieving plant-floor execution excellence.

“Growing market dynamics and increased competition have made it necessary to integrate manufacturing operations into business performance metrics,” said Robert Mick, vice president of emerging technologies at ARC Advisory Group Inc. “Interoperability of business and operations systems is key, and Microsoft’s support of standards such as ISA-95 will accelerate industry adoption as well as hasten the development of implementation standards.”

Today’s announcement follows the unveiling of Microsoft’s Peak Performance Initiative, which recognizes four core areas designed to help manufacturers improve collaboration, improve operational performance, and accelerate insight and innovation across the manufacturing value chain. By improving collaboration and standard-based integration between shop floor applications and manufacturing enterprise systems, Microsoft, along with its industry partners, hopes to enable manufacturers to adapt and respond to changes, increase efficiency, drive down the costs of operations, and improve customer satisfaction.

“Microsoft is committed to helping manufacturers achieve operational excellence, and support for standards such as ISA-95 will help the industry by lowering integration costs and improving productivity across increasingly fragmented value chains,” said Celestine Vettical, worldwide director of Manufacturing Industry Solutions for Microsoft. “In a service-oriented landscape, standards are key to achieving interoperability between systems and applications across manufacturing business processes. Microsoft is well-positioned to deliver new business value and innovative business practices to manufacturers through the proliferation of the Microsoft®
.NET Framework, the extension of Web services infrastructure, and the continued innovation of its partner ecosystem.”

“We welcome Microsoft’s support for the ISA-95 standards,” said Sudipta Bhattacharya, vice president of Manufacturing Solutions Management at SAP AG. “The ISA-95 adoption initiative that SAP launched in June 2004 is further validated by the participation and support of Microsoft. The traction that we are now starting to see around interoperability within the manufacturing space will go a long way in enhancing manufacturing productivity, as well as help customers drive down their total costs of ownership.”

“Microsoft’s pledge toward interoperability is a significant step toward approaching this important issue through a standards-based road map. Several years back we all witnessed Microsoft’s commitment toward OPC, and today it is almost a de-facto standard within shop- floor systems,” said Dr. Ravi Gopinath, vice president of Engineering & Industrial Services for Tata Consultancy Services Ltd. “We believe this commitment will drive standards for shop-floor-to-business-systems interoperability.”

About Microsoft in Manufacturing

Microsoft, in conjunction with industry-leading partners, delivers enterprise solutions to a range of manufacturers including those in vertical industries such as automotive, chemical, consumer packaged goods, high technology, and oil and gas. These industry-specific solutions provide a flexible, scalable and reliable platform that enables businesses to be more agile and connected. As a result, manufacturers are empowered to shorten product development cycles, integrate operations with partners and suppliers, acquire and share intelligence in real time, and more easily communicate with customers. More information about Microsoft in manufacturing can be found online at http://www.microsoft.com/manufacturing .

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.

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