REDMOND, Wash. — Jan. 19, 2006 — More than 1,500 business managers, technology professionals and developers gathered in Seattle this week for the sold out Microsoft® Office Project and Visio® conferences, where Microsoft Corp. CEO Steve Ballmer detailed advances in the upcoming releases of Microsoft Office Project and Microsoft Office Visio. In addition, Ballmer announced the completion of the acquisition of software and intellectual property assets from UMT, a leading project and portfolio management and consulting firm. The acquisition will provide Microsoft with new technology and talent that will complement and expand upon the existing Microsoft Office Enterprise Project Management (EPM) Solution.
“We’re excited because acquiring UMT will help us meet customers’ needs for deep portfolio management capabilities,” said Ballmer. “By combining our software and expertise, we’ll also create a new range of solution development opportunities for customers and partners.”
Portfolio management software helps organizations strategically create, manage and optimize project, application, product and process portfolios. Although traditionally used in the information technology (IT) industry, portfolio management capabilities are broadly applicable and growing in importance to any company for which work takes the form of individual projects, complex programs or enterprise portfolios. The UMT acquisition will help Microsoft address these scenarios through an end-to-end, integrated project and portfolio management solution that helps enable both excellence in project execution and better decision-making in prioritizing and funding those projects.
“We are very excited to join forces with Microsoft, and to work together toward a shared vision that combines project and portfolio management capabilities,” said Gil Makleff, CEO North America at UMT. “Customers will reap the benefits of being able to put tighter reins on their spending, make smarter and more consistent investments, and accurately and efficiently track how projects and initiatives are performing.”
Key members of the UMT executive team and a number of UMT product development employees will join the Microsoft Office Project team. The consulting arm of UMT will become the UMT Consulting Group to help provide successful implementations of the Microsoft portfolio management software platform.
Microsoft Office Project “12”
The next release of Microsoft’s Enterprise Project Management Solution, code-named Microsoft Office Project “12,” has been designed as a critical business application to help companies and business users deliver business results more quickly with an end-to-end, integrated enterprise project and portfolio management solution.
Project “12” also delivers new innovations and greater benefits in the areas of visibility and insight, organizational adoption, enterprise readiness and extensibility. Examples of these new advances include these:
Better visibility and insight. Server-side capabilities in Project “12” will draw on the newly acquired UMT technologies to enable organizations to gain greater business visibility and insight into all their work, helping them make key decisions about which projects and initiatives to fund. One example of this is UMT’s ability to federate data across the enterprise to get a holistic, top-down view of work in an organization.
Easy adoption. Project “12” will help make it even easier for business users to manage projects using Microsoft Project. With Project “12,” project managers will be able to easily track project changes by having them visually displayed as projects are updated. In addition, the Project Server-based Web application, Project Web Access (PWA), will provide all Project team participants with a simple Web interface to perform critical business tasks such as project proposals, top-down budgeting, resource management, time-tracking and task status updating.
Enterprise readiness. Project “12” will deliver significant advancements in performance and scalability. Project “12” benefits from an improved architecture. Many new features will improve performance, such as local cache tools, which enable users to work offline and then resyncs automatically when they’re back online. Project “12” will also incorporate new features such as those for deliverables, which makes it easier for managers to handle the complexity of master projects and dependencies across multiple projects.
Extensibility. Project Web Access “12” has been built completely on Microsoft Windows® SharePoint® Services 3.0, and many functions will use the .NET Platform 2.0. This platform helps enable companies to take advantage of their existing Microsoft investments. The new API facilitates integration with line-of-business applications and development of custom applications. Furthermore, business users can easily build in business process workflows using Project’s new Event Services with the Windows Workflow Foundation.
Microsoft Office Visio “12”
Office Visio “12,” the code name for the next generation of the Microsoft Office Visio business and technical diagramming program, will help organizations make more effective business decisions by enabling people to capture, visualize, analyze and communicate complex information, processes and systems. Complementary to Project “12” advancements, Visio “12” will help organizations take more effective action and make decisions more effectively by enabling people to capture and understand complex data.
In Visio “12,” new features and enhancements will make Visio diagrams even easier and faster to create, as well as more professional-looking:
Design diagrams and graphics. Visio “12” delivers new diagramming and graphics capabilities that make it easier to document, design and redesign processes and systems. Using the new Themes feature, customers can choose a color or effect theme for a diagram with a single click. People can also apply conditional formatting to data using the new Data Graphics Gallery task pane. This type of visual representation allows organizations to quickly weed through complex information to identify key trends, exceptions and insights.
Connect to data sources. With the new Data Selector wizard, it is simple to connect Visio diagrams to one or more data sources such as Microsoft Office Excel®, Microsoft Office Access, Microsoft Office SharePoint Portal Server or Microsoft SQL Server™. In addition, customers can associate shapes in a diagram with data using the new Automatic Link wizard.
Track trends and flag exceptions. The new PivotDiagram template in Visio “12” helps people visualize business data in a hierarchical form that shows data groups and totals, trends, issues, and exceptions. PivotDiagrams can also be inserted into any Visio diagram to provide metrics and reports that help track the ongoing progress of a process or system.
Project “12” and Visio “12” are expected to be available as part of the product releases for Microsoft Office “12,” the code name for the next version of Office, in the second half of 2006.
About the Microsoft Office System
The Microsoft Office system is an easy way to help more people use information to positively impact their business. Through a system of familiar and easy-to-use programs, servers, services and solutions, users can connect people and organizations to information, business processes and each other — helping ensure that they derive the most value out of information. The Microsoft Office system consists of the 2003 editions of Microsoft Office, Microsoft Office SharePoint Portal Server 2003, Microsoft Office Project and Project Server 2003, Microsoft Exchange Server 2003, Microsoft Office Live Communications Server 2003, Microsoft Office Live Meeting 2005, Microsoft Office Communicator 2005, Microsoft Office FrontPage® 2003 Web site creation and management tool, Microsoft Office InfoPath® 2003 information-gathering system, Microsoft Office OneNote® 2003 note-taking program, Microsoft Office Publisher 2003, Microsoft Office Visio 2003 and Microsoft Office Business Scorecard Manager 2005. Enabling technologies, such as Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services and Microsoft Windows Server™ 2003, enhance the features and functionality of products in the Microsoft Office system.
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