Microsoft Announces Enterprise Innovation Management Initiative

REDMOND, Wash. — May 28, 2008 — Microsoft Corp. today announced its Innovation Process Management (IPM) initiative to help enterprises build a flexible IT platform to speed the process of innovation for competitive advantage and a higher return on investment.

In many industries, innovation traditionally has been a compartmentalized, top-down process run by a small team of researchers, designers or engineers. The rapid spread and high availability of collaborative technologies has changed that model. It is now widely recognized that the next great breakthrough in products, services and processes can come from people anywhere inside or outside an organization. Advancements in IT also make it possible for companies to design flexible processes to support innovation.

“Innovation really is a team sport, requiring close collaboration and the alignment of people, processes and supporting infrastructure throughout an organization,” said Don Richardson, director of Worldwide Innovation Management Sales Strategy at Microsoft. “Ideation, knowledge capture, knowledge management, project management and portfolio management all must be synchronized through a formal process to ensure that innovation projects yield success.”

“Innovation is a top priority in every industry we serve,” said Joe Boggio, director of Innovation Management Solutions at Microsoft. “Our customers want a systematic approach for managing innovation to garner greater yield, efficiency and speed; this initiative joins employees, suppliers and customers around a formal, end-to-end process to manage innovation for sustained growth.”

The primary challenges associated with IPM include capturing the best ideas from all levels of the organization, identifying and harnessing the right people and other resources both inside and outside the organization, coordinating innovation project teams, monitoring project progress, and measuring success. Organizations often do not have structured innovation processes in place to drive transparency, metrics development or cross-functional collaboration. Because speed and coordination are critical to many organizations’ success in innovation, an effective collaboration process is essential to turn insights into ideas and action.

Microsoft’s IPM initiative is focused on helping its customers apply information technologies to address the challenges of innovation by delivering solutions that enable corporations to manage the end-to-end innovation process with greater transparency, coordination and discipline. The Microsoft Innovation Process Management Solution is built on Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 and is a key component of the Microsoft Office Enterprise Project Management (EPM) Solution, enabling organizations to facilitate the innovation process.

Microsoft’s unique approach to IPM is built around three key aspects of the overall process of managing innovation. The process is facilitated by Microsoft’s integrated EPM and business productivity infrastructure, which includes collaboration, unified communications, business intelligence, enterprise content management and enterprise search. The three aspects and their components are as follows:

Ideation and Knowledge Capture

  • The ability to capture and share ideas easily and rapidly to promote a culture of innovation by increasing first the quantity and then the quality of ideas contributed

  • The capability to collaborate to solve problems, gain incremental benefit or break new ground in a product, service or process by garnering feedback, gauging interest, forming teams and further developing concepts to transform them into well-thought-out ideas

Process and Knowledge Management

  • The processes to facilitate, investigate, formulate, evaluate, develop and promote an idea from concept to sanctioned project, involving key stakeholders internal and external to an organization

  • The capability to enforce process structure and discipline without stifling innovation

  • The ability to manage the life cycle of all digital content flowing into and out of the solution

Project and Portfolio Management

  • The ability to evaluate ideas according to the following specifics:

  • Governing strategic objectives such as growth, globalization, innovation and customer loyalty

  • Operational parameters such as work-force resource constraints, capital expenditure, project funds and competing investments

  • Performance metrics such as sales, forecasts, inventory and spending

  • Macro environmental factors such as market dynamics, market size and industry trends

  • The capability to track real-time progress against forecast metrics and make informed decisions to optimize budget, resources and time constraints to meet market demands, such as windows of opportunity to gain first-mover advantages

The IPM offerings from Microsoft and its partners are built on a flexible platform that can be customized to support customers’ existing processes and integrate with their line-of-business systems, enabling them to get the most out of their current technology investments. Microsoft Office EPM Solution is a key component of IPM, which enables entire organizations to work together to continually improve processes, increase efficiency and facilitate knowledge sharing, driving a sustainable return on investment. More information on Microsoft Office EPM Solution 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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