Bill Gates Shares Vision for New Generation of Business Solutions That Enable the People-Ready Business

DALLAS — March 27, 2006 — Today at Convergence 2006, the Microsoft Business Solutions Group’s customer conference, top Microsoft Corp. executives outlined a vision for the Microsoft Dynamics™ line of integrated, adaptable business solutions. In his keynote address, Microsoft Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates described how Microsoft is helping customers improve business results by better bridging business processes and business practices. The convergence of business systems with personal productivity software tailored for specific employee roles will enable the people-ready business.

Gates observed that digitization of the global economy, evolution in the way people work and breakthroughs in software development are among the trends driving this opportunity for Microsoft, its partners and customers.

“Businesses need more flexible ways to define and evolve their processes across systems so they can ensure that the results are delivered to employees to maximize their productivity,” Gates said. “To help them achieve this, we are bringing business systems together with productivity and collaboration software and the online world. The result is role-based, composite applications that put people at the center so they can gain insight and collaborate to make decisions and take actions that drive the business forward.”

In his keynote address today at Convergence, Gates outlined the five key and unique pillars to Microsoft’s approach to role-based productivity:

Familiar, Tailored User Experience

The user experience of these applications is directly modeled on the role a user has and the specific work a user does. It is implemented through state-of-the-art user interface technology and design approaches that blend traditional business productivity applications with personal productivity tools such as Microsoft® Office. This new approach to user experience is immediately familiar to people, helping increase their productivity and reduce training costs for organizations.

Service-Oriented Architecture

These applications are service-oriented in their architecture, creating greater flexibility in the applications and delivering three key benefits to customers: greater agility for companies to more easily adapt to the rapidly changing business world, the ability to more easily unlock investments in existing systems, and broader choice of deployment options including outsourcing and hosting applications. As evidence of how Microsoft is delivering these benefits to customers today, the company announced at Convergence a variety of supporting technologies and programs, including broad support for industry-standard Web services across Microsoft Dynamics.

Integrated Collaboration

Building on technology such as Windows® SharePoint® Services, these Microsoft applications will continue to deliver greater collaboration tools, enabling a transparent organization that provides employees, partners and suppliers with access to data at all times in a security-enhanced and appropriate manner. With pervasive workflow as an integral component of the application, users will be able to work within a world of totally connected businesses.

Immediately Insightful

Good decision-making sets great people and organizations apart. With tools such as SQL Server™ Reporting Services, users are automatically presented with information that gives them business insight relevant to their role, which helps them make immediate business decisions with clarity and confidence.

Rapid Development Composition

Within the business applications industry, “composite applications” are defined as new types of solutions that tie together functionality from several different sources, using industry-standard Web services to span the boundaries of structured and unstructured data while tying together formal processes with ad hoc workflow. Microsoft applications are designed to enable software developers to easily and quickly “compose” new solutions from multiple parts, helping businesses increase their agility by deploying solutions that map to their immediate, real-world requirements.

The nearly 7,000 Microsoft customers, partners and employees in attendance at Convergence observed a number of demonstrations that illustrated these points:

  • Attendees were given a glimpse of the near-term evolution of the Microsoft Dynamics user experience via a prototype application taking full advantage of the richness in Windows Vista™. Observers were shown a preview of the Microsoft Dynamics client, which highlighted upcoming enhancements to the solution’s user experience.

  • A comprehensive workflow scenario demonstrated how a purchasing manager can easily collaborate with others in an organization to bring a new vendor on board by using Microsoft Dynamics AX 4.0 featuring Windows SharePoint Services. Microsoft Dynamics AX 4.0 is scheduled to be released later this year.

  • Finally, Gates shared a prototype that embodies the ultimate vision for the future of role-based composite business applications. The demonstration illustrated the richness users will experience in a future in which a computing fabric made up of many sources of information and services can work seamlessly together and in a manner tailored to specific individuals.

About Microsoft Dynamics

Microsoft Dynamics is a line of financial, customer relationship and supply chain management solutions that helps 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.

About Microsoft

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, Microsoft Dynamics, Windows, SharePoint and Windows Vista are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

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