Microsoft Dynamics Community Brings the Spirit of Convergence Online Year-Round

DALLAS — March 27, 2006 — Today at Convergence 2006, the Microsoft Business Solutions Group’s customer conference, Microsoft Corp. announced the Microsoft Dynamics™ Community, a core component of its overall strategy of roles-based software that enables the people-ready business. The Microsoft Dynamics Community is a series of initiatives that will enhance the online sharing of information and best practices by extending online collaboration with its community of customers and partners directly into the Microsoft Dynamics user experience. In his keynote address tomorrow, Doug Burgum, senior vice president of the Microsoft Business Solutions (MBS) Group, will celebrate the success of this 10th annual Convergence event and further outline Microsoft’s approach to bringing the benefits of Convergence to the Microsoft Dynamics Community online.

“Overwhelmingly, our customers have told us that the annual Convergence conference is one of the most positive and powerful networking opportunities they have each year,” Burgum said. “By bringing the spirit of this event online we provide the environment where customers and partners can share knowledge, connect with peers, collaborate, and share ideas year-round, with no physical boundaries.”

The Microsoft Dynamics Community includes a series of technology investments that strengthen the online community experience for Microsoft Dynamics users and partners around three core themes: business relevance, roles-based experience and continuous collaboration. These technology investments include an enhanced community infrastructure enabling RSS feeds, blogging, video blogging, “mash-ups,” collaborative participation in shared source development projects, and enhanced online discussions. In his keynote address, Burgum will discuss the company’s vision that takes community to the next level by integrating it directly into the user experience of the Microsoft Dynamics product line, enabling users to personalize their participation in a business community as part of their daily use of business software.

Business Relevance

Historically, online communities have been successful at sharing technical product information and discussing technology issues. Building on the best practices of the technical community, this new initiative attracts a broader set of community members focused on business issues. Business users will connect to discuss industry topics and specific business issues with other users in similar roles from different companies, enabling targeted connections and collaboration among people such as HR managers, operation managers and accounting managers.

“Microsoft built the original developer community with Microsoft® Developer Network (MSDN®), revolutionizing how developers collaborated and shared information around development and technology infrastructure issues,” said Mike Gillis from Iteration2, an MBS partner. “But where does a finance controller go to brainstorm on ways to improve DSO (days sales outstanding) for their accounts receivables? By building support for online community directly into a business management suite, Microsoft is taking the types of conversations that take place at business conferences like Convergence and bringing them online in a relevant way.”

Roles-Based Experience

Microsoft is designing a roles-based experience into the Microsoft Dynamics Community in a way that complements the roles-based design of the user experience in the Microsoft Dynamics product line. The Microsoft Dynamics Community will be organized in a way that mirrors the typical organizational responsibilities within a company. Recognizing the fact that roles-based experiences involve activities inside and outside the application software, this new roles-based online community will offer customers the ability to hold contextual discussions with peers having similar job responsibilities and to share ideas, best practices and collaborate on solutions in the context of their responsibilities at work. Participants will be able to personalize their experience and then use technology features in the community infrastructure, including RSS feeds and Web applications, to integrate their participation directly into their personalized, roles-based Microsoft Dynamics desktop.

“This blending of the community experience and the work experience within the software that people use on a daily basis is a breakthrough approach enabled by our roles-based design,” Burgum said. “We’re excited about the opportunity this will provide our customers and partners to interact with their peers throughout the year in an efficient and meaningful way.”

Continuous Collaboration

The new Microsoft Dynamics Community includes an environment in which partners and customers can directly participate in a continuous collaboration around the design and direction of Microsoft Dynamics product features. Through a series of Microsoft Dynamics workspace and “sandbox” environments, partners and customers will be able to engage in ongoing collaboration on ideas for new Microsoft Dynamics product features outside the traditional software release cycle. This community space was launched with Business Portal Lite for Microsoft Dynamics SL and now includes shared source projects for business process accelerators along with Microsoft Dynamics Snap, a series of community-built “snap-in” applications that easily integrate Microsoft Dynamics with Microsoft Office using Web services.

“As a Microsoft Dynamics partner, we’re excited about the new community initiatives and the opportunity this brings us — both in ongoing networking and in the sharing of our solutions,” Gillis said. “Our business is designed to constantly innovate, solving customer problems along with Microsoft Dynamics. This community gives us a way to share solutions among other partner and customer community members in real time.”

The Microsoft Dynamics online community has a solid foundation to build on, with more than 20,000 users visiting each month, 27 active newsgroups that generate more than 9,000 posts per month, and more than 35 related community sites hosted by Microsoft Dynamics partners and user groups globally.

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.

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 and MSDN 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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