Microsoft Announces “People-Ready” Business Vision

NEW YORK — March 16, 2006 — Microsoft Corp. CEO Steve Ballmer today outlined the company’s vision for how people, armed with the right software, are the key to driving business success. Called “People-Ready,” this vision for business is the backdrop for a series of innovative solutions in new and existing categories that Microsoft will bring to market over the next year. Addressing more than 500 business customers, Ballmer showcased new business solutions and explained how they are enabled by the integration across the company’s forthcoming versions of the Windows Vista™ operating system, the 2007 Microsoft® Office system, Windows Mobile® software and the next version of Microsoft Exchange Server, as well as infrastructure offerings such as Windows Server™ 2003 and SQL Server™ 2005.

“Twenty years ago this week, Microsoft — armed with our belief in the power of software to change the world — was listed as a publicly traded company. People-Ready is a natural extension of our founding vision of empowering people through software. Today we take this to the next level by showing how these tools now work together in new ways to enhance innovation and drive greater value for business,” Ballmer said. “Fueling our vision is a series of software solutions resulting from a $20 billion R&D investment over the past three years that is producing new innovation in a range of categories. From business intelligence to the mobile work force, from collaboration to communications, and from CRM to enterprise search, the opportunity for software to deliver even greater customer value is limitless.”

The company’s People-Ready vision is based on the belief that people are the ultimate drivers of a business’ success. A business that is People-Ready gives its people software tools that enable them to collaborate and work together globally, to contact and serve customers instantly, and to streamline and reinvent processes intuitively. Along these lines, Microsoft previewed new software solutions that will deliver even greater customer value. Ballmer said that in the coming year Microsoft will apply its product portfolio and provide differentiated offerings to a much broader set of customer needs in the following categories:

  • Unified communications and collaboration. Microsoft is extending the rich capabilities of software to improve and advance business communications.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer shares Microsoft’s vision for the “People-Ready” business with 500 executives and journalists. New York, March 16, 2006
  • The next release of the Microsoft Office system will extend desktop capabilities though new server technologies. For example, with Microsoft Office SharePoint® Server 2007, Microsoft enables new categories with easy-to-use customization tools designed for people, workflow, and easy integration of popular collaboration tools such as wikis and blogs. In addition, technologies such as Exchange Server, Microsoft Office Live Communications Server and Microsoft Office Communicator will break down today’s silos of communication (e-mail, phone, instant messaging, Web conferencing) and bring them together into an intuitive experience that helps people and organizations communicate simply and effectively while integrating seamlessly with business applications and processes.

  • Enterprise search. Microsoft’s enterprise search technologies are moving beyond empowering people to create documents by enabling them to better manage the information they need to be successful. Through powerful new software solutions that take advantage of richness of both the client and the server such as Windows Desktop Search and Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007, people will have instant access to their most pressing information whether it is on their desktop, server or across their company — all from a single, intuitive and familiar user interface.

  • The mobile work force. The world of work is increasingly mobile. Microsoft’s comprehensive approach to mobility that spans devices, software and networks addresses the needs of business in a way that no point solution provider can. Specifically, the next version of Exchange Server revolutionizes access by offering a speech-enabled and unified messaging platform that integrates e-mail, fax and voice mail in the user’s inbox with support for a variety of clients, including traditional and mobile devices. The integration between Windows Mobile, Exchange Server and the 2007 Microsoft Office system enables entirely new scenarios for businesses to turn their work force into a mobile work force without having to manage additional server infrastructure, hire expensive consultants or relinquish their data to third-party providers.

  • Business intelligence. One way to increase the impact that people can have in an organization is to give them access to the information and insight they need. Until now, business intelligence (BI) software has been too complex, costly and disconnected from the software tools people use every day to do their jobs, but that is changing. Microsoft is significantly increasing, aligning and broadening its investment in BI with SQL Server as the foundation and with the Microsoft Office system playing an increasingly integral role. In addition, deeper integration between the next version of Microsoft Office Excel® and SharePoint Server will make it easier for non-technical users to access hard-to-find corporate data and analyze it with simpler tools including new visualization technology. New solutions, including Microsoft Office Business Scorecard Manager 2005 and enhancements to the familiar Microsoft Office Excel software, transform BI into a mainstream technology for the most novice user by providing an easy user experience for accessing and working with business information so that decision-makers at all levels within an organization can drive better performance.

  • Customer relationship management (CRM). With the Microsoft Dynamics™ line of business management solutions, Microsoft is unifying the previously separate worlds of business process automation (such as CRM and ERP) with the world of productivity. For example, designed to be a natural extension of Microsoft Office Outlook®, the Microsoft Dynamics CRM user experience provides workers with a familiar and intuitive environment that results in every person in a company being able to begin using such tools for managing sales, services and marketing processes. Microsoft CRM also adapts easily to a business’ existing workflow and processes as a direct result of the innovation Microsoft has applied with respect to service-oriented architecture (SOA) and Web services. Thus Microsoft CRM is tailored to suit people’s roles and meet the specific needs of businesses today.

  • Infrastructure. While infrastructure is not something that employees typically think about, a significant portion of Microsoft’s R&D over the past three years has gone into providing world-class, security-enhanced, and manageable software and server infrastructure to seamlessly support many of the new innovations coming to market later this year. For instance, new innovation in the already released SQL Server 2005 and the next version of Windows Server will play a significant role in delivering the underpinnings for all of these integrated solutions in a way that is transparent to workers.

“Getting the most out of their people is on the mind of every business leader I speak with,” Ballmer said. “Successful businesses understand that people drive business success and growth. At Microsoft, we understand that and are passionate about the idea that the right software can provide the tools to empower workers to become the drivers of business success.”

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer (R) listens to fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger (L) discuss empowering his employees with the tools to drive business success as Microsoft launches it’s “People-Ready” Business vision. New York, March 16, 2006.

Ballmer also said the company would be aligning its global sales and marketing organization and its worldwide partner network to execute against the People-Ready vision. The company also announced a series of investments including a $500 million global marketing and sales campaign designed to broadly communicate the company’s software value proposition for business. Microsoft also is making it easier and more economical for businesses to access software that works together and enables comprehensive solutions for their collaboration, communication and corporate compliance needs. The new approach provides an easier path for customers to purchase and use Microsoft software so customers can now deploy it on their own schedule and scale as required; ensure the tools are there when the business needs them; and, gain earlier access to more training and support for new technologies as well as desktop deployment planning services.

People-Ready Business Customers

Ballmer was joined on stage by representatives from Bank of America N.A., one of the world’s largest financial institutions. 

“At Bank of America, we embrace the People-Ready vision because our success is driven by our associates who interact with customers every day,” said Tim Huval, CIO of Bank of America’s Global Wealth & Investment Management (GWIM) Group. “One way Microsoft software helps associates drive success is through our Client Connections platform, which enables our associates to obtain a 360-degree view of our customers, from bank accounts to stock portfolios. Client Connections drives higher customer and associate satisfaction.”

Partner Support for the People-Ready Business

More than 640,000 Microsoft enterprise and middle market partners around the world are being mobilized to help customers assess their status and next steps for becoming a People-Ready Business and determine which solutions are best and most relevant to their needs. UGS Corp., a leading global provider of product life-cycle management (PLM) software and services with nearly 4 million licensed seats and 46,000 customers worldwide, is just one of those Microsoft partners committed to this mission.

“UGS is excited to work with Microsoft in delivering to customers People-Ready solutions specifically designed and aligned to help businesses innovate and solve problems they care about the most,” said Tony Affuso, CEO of UGS. “With arguably the broadest and deepest portfolio of software offerings for business, it’s a great time for Microsoft and its partners to revitalize efforts to most effectively enable people to collaborate with technology to drive business results.”

More information about the new initiative can be found at

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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