Microsoft Dynamics Aims to Closely Align with New Servers & Tools Products

Satya Nadella, Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Business Solutions

SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 3, 2005 –Next week, Microsoft will celebrate the availability of three new products – Microsoft SQL Server 2005, Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 and Microsoft BizTalk Server 2006 – that Microsoft says will enable businesses to better connect their people, business processes and information and give people the ability to make better decisions faster and turn insight into action.

A key part of the overall strategy, according to Microsoft, is to deliver a tightly integrated family of tools, servers and business applications by closely aligning the development efforts across the Microsoft Dynamics products developed by Microsoft Business Solutions. To learn more about the strategy and the increased integration, PressPass spoke withSatya Nadella, corporate vice president with Microsoft Business Solutions, who oversees the group’s development efforts.

PressPass: You’ve spoken about plans to further integrate the Microsoft Dynamics line of products into the overall Microsoft platform. Where are you with this effort?

Nadella:This is an exciting time for the Microsoft Business Solutions group as we begin to deliver on the first wave of our next-generation business application development roadmap, formerly known as “Project Green” and now known as Microsoft Dynamics – as announced at Business Summit on Sept. 7. Over the course of the next year, you will see us deliver on Wave 1 of Microsoft Dynamics with other great and trusted products from Microsoft to extend the value of our customers’ IT investment. We’ve committed to improving the user experience with a breakthrough user interface based on over 50 common configurable roles, providing Web services including common .NET interoperability, creating a contextual business intelligence environment based on SQL Server Reporting Services, and portals based on Microsoft Sharepoint Portal Server.

PressPass: Why is Microsoft Dynamics, together with products offered by Microsoft’s Servers and Tools team, a better value for customers than products offered by competing vendors?

Nadella:There are three primary areas where Microsoft’s overall solution is a better bet for today’s businesses. First, we are putting people at the core of our software design. Based on extensive research with our customers and partners we’re bringing in new thinking about the core business processes that matter most to businesses – functions like sales and marketing, finance, operations, productivity and IT management – that will help business software work the way people really work. Second, we’re providing the right economic model for our partners. Microsoft’s approach provides the right economic model by providing a broad, standard platform based on XML Web services that independent software vendors (ISVs), system integrators and developers can enhance with additional, specialized value. Finally, Microsoft Dynamics products provide an integrated experience with Microsoft’s Server and Tools products from deployment to ongoing maintenance; this reduces the total cost of ownership of the solutions, while offering richer functionality together with the partner ecosystem.

PressPass: What are some of the specific benefits of an enhanced, tightened integration between Microsoft Dynamics and Microsoft SQL Server 2005?

Nadella:In the upcoming Microsoft Dynamics Wave 1 releases due in the 2005 and 2006 calendar years, customers will benefit from business intelligence, data management, and enhanced performance and high-availability features of Microsoft SQL Server 2005. For example the reporting engine for Microsoft Dynamics CRM, due out later this year, will be based on SQL Server Reporting Services, meaning customers will rep the benefits of a more seamless reporting experience and improved access to data.

Microsoft Dynamics AX 4.0, which will be available in the first half of next year, will also include SQL Report Builder, which brings ad hoc report authoring capabilities to the fingertips of business users. Typically, ad hoc reporting has been a function of the IT department, by empowering the end user the IT professional is freed up to spend time on more critical IT tasks.

PressPass: Have you done any benchmark tests with Microsoft Dynamics running on SQL Server 2005 to determine how scalable the solutions are together?

Nadella:Yes. We conducted early benchmark tests with Microsoft Dynamics GP 9.0, which will run on SQL Server 2005 and is due out later this month. Early user-benchmark testing demonstrated that Microsoft Dynamics GP and SQL Server 2005 can handle substantial transaction volumes for large customers. One benchmark test consisted of 1,000 Microsoft Dynamics GP users entering transactions and processing transactions continuously, while at the same time other activities – such as printing of payables management checks, receivables management month-end process of aging, statements and paid transactions removal – were performed. Within 8 hours, 1.6 million business transactions were entered. Additionally, in a 30,000-employee payroll benchmark test, 300,000 payroll codes were processed in less than 8 hours and year end-processing in less than one hour.

PressPass: For today’s typical midsized business, is Microsoft SQL Server really an affordable and attainable choice?

Nadella:Yes. For midsize business customers undergoing implementation of Microsoft Dynamics products, Microsoft SQL Server 2005 offers a very compelling total cost of ownership. Microsoft SQL Server 2005 is licensed per-processor, not per-core, which reduces the overall cost of the database by a factor of three or more.

PressPass: And what about the integration with Microsoft Visual Studio 2005?

Nadella:Developers and customers will benefit from Web services in the upcoming Microsoft Dynamics Wave 1 releases due in the 2005 and 2006 calendar years. For example, with Microsoft Dynamics GP 9.0, due out later this year, Visual Studio 2005 developers will be able to work with Microsoft Dynamics GP through a standard set of XML Web services that will allow developers to easily integrate other applications with Microsoft Dynamics GP. Customers will benefit as well, they will no longer have to pay for costly updates to third party applications.

Another great example of integration with Visual Studio 2005 is support for eventing model in Microsoft Dynamics GP. Visual Studio .NET developers can now extend Microsoft Dynamics GP using this eventing model, allowing developers to launch forms or business logic as a part of events in Microsoft Dynamics GP. For example, within Microsoft Dynamics GP an event could be triggered from the save button that allows the user to select to inactivate a customer. The end result is the event is triggered automatically, without the user having to go through the formal process of inactivating a customer through normal menus within the application. You could also inactivate the customer across the entire system with eventing.

PressPass: What are the benefits of integration with Microsoft BizTalk Server 2006?

Nadella:Microsoft BizTalk Server continues to be an integral part of our strategy to respond to the needs of subsidiaries, divisions and branches of global enterprises that are looking for business applications that are low cost, flexible and rich in functionality. In addition to centralized deployments, Microsoft Dynamics customers can also deploy the applications in a federated or decentralized model where data and business processes are shared across divisions, subsidiaries and/or branches of global enterprises. For example, Microsoft Dynamics uses BizTalk Server to integrate multiple instances of Microsoft Dynamics, or to integrate Dynamics with other commonly used applications in enterprise headquarters (such as SAP R/3 and Oracle Financials).This gives global enterprises a choice in their deployment strategy. Additionally, BizTalk Server is used in conjunction with Microsoft Dynamics, assisting in data transform and transport, electronic routing and similar services.

PressPass: The announcement regarding Microsoft Dynamics Wave 1 speaks about Contextual Business Intelligence that is based on a SQL Reporting Services as a common reporting environment. You announced Microsoft Office Business Scorecard Manager just last week. How does this offering fit into your strategy; and what about Microsoft Excel and Microsoft FRx and Microsoft Forecaster?

Nadella:We have Microsoft Business Solutions’ customers up and running with Business Scorecard Manager, and they love it. While SQL Server and SQL Reporting Services are at the core of our contextual BI (business intelligence) strategy for Microsoft Dynamics, providing customers with a powerful platform for general-purpose reporting and analytical capability, other Microsoft applications are also important to our strategy.

Business Scorecard Manager puts powerful key performance indicators (KPIs) into the hands of the end user. Taking advantage of “out-of-the-box” or available, straight-forward methods, Business Scorecard Manager moves key financial, CRM and supply chain data to Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Services cubes, allowing Microsoft Dynamics customers to view KPIs in Business Scorecard Manager. Microsoft FRx and Microsoft Forecaster are complementary; customers can use data from either application using the Microsoft FRx instant OLAP capability to generate local and server-based cubes based on report data.

Excel is also an essential part of our BI strategy. All Microsoft Dynamics solutions, including Microsoft FRx and Microsoft Forecaster, work with and are enhanced by the BI functionality in Excel, providing customers with greater visibility into their finances through PivotTable report generation, rich budgeting capabilities, and the ability to slice and dice their business data directly in Excel for deeper levels of analysis.

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