DALLAS — March 23, 2006 — With Convergence 2006, the Microsoft Business Solutions Group’s customer conference, set to start Saturday, March 25, in Dallas, Microsoft Corp. today announced 5,000 industry solutions available to the Microsoft® and Microsoft Dynamics™ community through Microsoft Solution Finder and the first Microsoft Industry Builder initiative customers going live with solutions that meet their specific industry needs.
“Microsoft continues to put significant investments behind our Industry Solutions strategy, aligning our resources with the way customers want to buy and partners want to sell,” said Craig McCollum, vice president of worldwide sales strategy for the Microsoft Business Solutions Group at Microsoft. “Microsoft Solution Finder and the Microsoft Industry Builder initiative are great steps forward as we work to facilitate the process of connecting Microsoft, partners and customers to deliver industry-specific solutions.”
Microsoft Solution Finder
Microsoft Solution Finder is an online directory of solutions that allows customers to easily search for and connect with Microsoft Certified Partners worldwide based on their industry, locale or specific Microsoft products. Using Microsoft Solution Finder, customers and partners can search for solutions offered by more than 220,000 Microsoft partner organizations worldwide.
Many of these partners have contributed to a growing directory of specific industry solutions that includes more than 5,000 software applications, more than 2,000 of which are tightly integrated with Microsoft Dynamics business management applications, which include financial management, CRM and supply chain management solutions, in addition to Microsoft Retail Management System.
“Microsoft Solution Finder provides an opportunity for us to enhance the visibility of our solutions and industry expertise among existing and potential customers and partners,” said Michael Belongie, vice president of sales at Axonom Inc., a Microsoft Dynamics CRM partner, providing solutions for the high-tech, public sector and financial services industries. “We applaud Microsoft for building a tool like Microsoft Solution Finder that eases the process for customers to identify potential partner solutions that meet their specific industry or business need.”
To ensure consistency and quality of the Microsoft Dynamics solutions, Microsoft is validating each of these solutions with at least two local customer references. The number of solutions profiled and validated increases daily as Microsoft partners continue to add their solution profiles through Microsoft Partner Solution Profiler.
Microsoft Solution Finder can be accessed by existing and prospective customers and partners in eight countries today: the U.S., Canada, U.K., Denmark, Norway, Germany, Switzerland and Austria. A total of 17 countries will have access to the tool by mid-2006.
The growing number of profiled industry-specific solutions is also helping Microsoft identify unfulfilled customer needs and partner opportunities. For example, Microsoft is using the Microsoft Solution Finder directory to identify solution areas and industries where there are opportunities for existing partners and where targeted partner recruitment is needed. In addition, the profiles are being leveraged to connect partners to other partners and much more.
“Through Microsoft Solution Finder we are able to give our customers and partners better visibility into the industry solutions that exist today, and ensure we are setting them up for future success,” McCollum said.
Microsoft Industry Builder Initiative
Microsoft Industry Builder initiative represents a significant Microsoft investment to further accelerate partners’ abilities to sell solutions in specific industries. As a part of the Industry Builder initiative, select independent software vendors (ISVs) develop industry modules in accordance with Microsoft’s quality standards and package them with a Microsoft support offering.
In December 2005, Microsoft announced the general availability of five industry-specific solutions developed for distribution, process manufacturing, professional services, industrial equipment manufacturing and field service management (http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/2005/nov05/11-30IndustryBuilderInitPR.mspx). The solutions are available with Microsoft Dynamics AX.
Since these solutions launched earlier this year, the first Industry Builder initiative customers are going live with the solutions, including Gold Kist Inc. and Heritage Bag Co., which are both using Process Industries for Microsoft Dynamics AX developed by Fullscope Inc.
“The functionality and flexibility of Microsoft Dynamics AX, along with the Industry Builder initiative for Process Industries, is providing a strong platform for Gold Kist to build its enterprise resource planning solution,” said Sandra Kearney, vice president of Information Services at Gold Kist. “Knowing that the total solution is backed by Microsoft, a company that invests billions of dollars in research and development, gave us confidence that the solution would continue to grow and receive world-class support.”
Since the initiative was introduced last year at Convergence, it continues to show momentum with new ISVs signing on. Microsoft recently announced a new industry-specific solution for retail, Retail Chain Manager, developed by To-Increase, the software division of Columbus IT Partner USA Inc. In addition, Microsoft Certified partner Blue Fox Enterprise NV has also signed onto the Industry Builder initiative with an industry solution for textile and apparel expected to be available with Microsoft Dynamics AX in the second half of this calendar year.
These industry-specific solutions are a part of the first wave of Microsoft’s Industry Builder initiative. The Industry Builder initiative was introduced for ISVs developing vertical applications for Microsoft Dynamics AX, and the plan is to extend the initiative to other Microsoft Dynamics products later this year. Each of these solutions is available to qualified Microsoft partner community members.
The Industry Builder initiative offers proof of Microsoft’s commitment to working closely with its worldwide network of partners to deliver innovative business applications. “By combining the incredibly deep industry expertise of our solution partners with Microsoft’s innovative business applications, support plans, and research and development capabilities, we are delivering a winning group of solutions for our mutual customers,” McCollum said.
Industry Networking Opportunities and Online Resources
This year at Convergence, Microsoft is offering a series of industry-specific sessions and networking opportunities for customers and partners on Saturday, March 25. More information on the industry sessions that will be available can be found at the Convergence Web site at http://www.msconvergence.com.
Customers can search for Microsoft partner solutions that integrate with Microsoft Dynamics by visiting Microsoft Solution Finder online at http://www.microsoft.com/dynamics/solutionfinder.
Partners can participate in this growing online community by registering in the Microsoft Partner Program and profiling their solutions at http://www.microsoft.com/partner.
More information on Microsoft’s Industry Builder initiative can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/dynamics/ax/product/industrysolutions.mspx.
About Microsoft Dynamics
Microsoft Dynamics is a line of financial, customer relationship and supply chain management solutions that help businesses work more effectively. Delivered through a network of channel partners providing specialized services, these integrated, adaptable business management solutions work like and with familiar Microsoft software to streamline processes across an entire business.
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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