Microsoft Business Solutions Acquires Business Analytics Tool

REDMOND, Wash., March 14, 2005 — Building on its innovation technology road map and vertical strategies outlined last week at Convergence 2005, the Microsoft Business Solutions Business Group at Microsoft Corp. today announced the acquisition of a business analytics tool and new enhancements to Microsoft® Business Solutions–Great Plains® 8.0 which include improved fit for businesses within specific industries, greater flexibility, extensions to the product’s availability to connect in new ways, and a new business analytics foundation.

Jeff Young, general manager for Microsoft Great Plains, said that today’s announcement demonstrates the commitment to a strong product road map outlined by Microsoft’s Bill Gates, chairman and chief software architect, and Doug Burgum, senior vice president of the Microsoft Business Solutions Business Group, at Convergence 2005. “As the world at work changes and evolves, the innovative technology of Microsoft Business Solutions grows and changes to keep pace,” Young said. “The extension modules for Microsoft Great Plains 8.0 underscore our ongoing commitment to deliver increasing value to customers in new, innovative ways.”

Young added that the extension modules for Microsoft Great Plains 8.0 are part of the Microsoft Business Solutions group’s overall strategy to deliver products and services with built-in integrated innovation to more deeply connect people and processes across organizations and beyond.

Business Analytics Capabilities Enhanced to Give Organizations Greater Insight Into Critical Business Information

A strategic new combination of business intelligence components has been extended for Microsoft Great Plains 8.0 Professional Edition that includes Microsoft Great Plains Analysis Cubes for Excel, Key Performance Indicators for Microsoft Business Solutions Business Portal, and integration with Microsoft Office Solution Accelerator for Sarbanes-Oxley. Critical to the ability to offer modules focused on business analytics is Analysis Cubes for Excel, the Webhouse code Microsoft Corp. acquired from Professional Advantage, a Microsoft Business Solutions partner. The code, a driver of the business intelligence foundation layer for Microsoft Great Plains 8.0 Professional Edition, will facilitate the delivery of valuable business intelligence across an organization by using OLAP cubes for more in-depth analysis. The OLAP cubes will allow organizations to examine and analyze data from different angles for deeper insight into the information critical to their business.

“The Analysis Cubes for Excel enable us to focus on new markets faster than we could before,” said Andy Skipton, head of accounting for Logos Bible Software. “The timeliness, accuracy and availability of information we now provide to all our managers have allowed us to identify sales channels or products that are not productive, and instead dedicate time and resources to those that are producing results.”

Other tools that will enhance the business analytics capabilities of Microsoft Great Plains 8.0 include Microsoft SQL Server (TM) 2000 Reporting Services Report Pack and SmartList Builder. By using the SmartList Builder, businesses will have unlimited flexibility in defining their SmartList ad hoc queries so that Microsoft Great Plains 8.0 data and third-party applications can be queried more thoroughly. The Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Reporting Services Report Pack will be available to allow customers to draw information from Microsoft Great Plains and create analytics reports specific to their business needs. Eight templates will help businesses draw on the power of Microsoft SQL Server 2000 to create analytical reports for sales, purchasing and manufacturing functions.

Extension Modules Strengthen Not-for-Profit and Public Sector Offering

The ability of Microsoft Great Plains to meet specific industry needs has been extended with a new Grant Management module to deliver more functionality for not-for-profit and public sector organizations. Grant Management will help organizations proactively manage their grants by eliminating the need for manual calculations and helping ensure compliance with regulations.

The Grant Management module will integrate with the enhanced Analytical Accounting module. Budgeting features will let organizations create budget trees, create budgets at a dimension code level or as a dimension/account combination, and allow budgeting at a summary or detail level. There is also integration between the Analytical Accounting module and Microsoft Business Solutions–FRx® .

Enhanced Flexibility: Capturing Information to Meet Precise Fit

The Microsoft Great Plains Extender module will provide organizations with new, highly flexible capabilities to modify their business applications to better suit their business practices. With the new Extender module, organizations will find it easier than ever to add new windows with user-defined fields, capture detailed notes, and track the exact information needed to run their business more effectively. The Microsoft Great Plains Extender module delivers on the goal of offering rich functionality at a precise fit for customers.

Extensions Increase the Reach of Microsoft Great Plains 8.0

The extension modules announced today will help extend the overall reach of Microsoft Great Plains 8.0 by connecting people, processes and information. The Microsoft Business Portal 2.5 Feature Pack will include customer security-enhanced data access policies, which will allow data restrictions on information shared with customers to further extend intranet access. The Microsoft Business Portal Human Resources Management (HRM) Self-Service Suite will include timecard status functionality, which will enable managers and payroll administrators to identify which employees have and have not submitted timecards. The Microsoft Business Portal HRM Self-Service Suite for Canada will feature integration with Microsoft Great Plains Canadian Human Resources.

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, Great Plains and FRx are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp., FRx Software Corp. or their affiliates in the United States and/or other countries.

FRx Software Corp. 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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