Microsoft detailed its user-friendlier “Project Green” at the Convergence 2005 conference in San Diego today. The enhanced technology road map for Microsoft Business Solutions’ development effort includes support for current business management solutions until at least 2013, the company said.
“With our customers’ business in mind, we continue to invest deeply across our business applications,” said Doug Burgum, senior vice president of Microsoft Business Solutions. “The Microsoft Business Solutions team is dedicated to evolving its solutions to meet the changing demands and challenges that our customers face.”
Directions on Microsoft lead analyst Chris Alliegro told TechNewsWorld that today’s announcement signifies Microsoft’s acknowledgment that the company needs to move forward in a way that will be minimally disruptive to existing customers and partners.
To that end, Burgum said, Microsoft will offer five years of mainstream support for each major release based on the product’s date of availability and eight years of online self-help support for most products.
“Microsoft is still planning to move in a direction of consolidating its enterprise resource planning lines,” Alliegro said. “It doesn’t make sense to spend the R&D dollars on products that do very similar things. But Microsoft will endeavor to consolidate in a way that is more evolutionary and less radical than what we originally heard about with the ‘Project Green’ plan.”
Waves of Product Releases
Project Green will be delivered in two waves. The first will occur between 2005 and 2007 and will include the release of a shared user interface based around 50 common configurable roles that people have within a company, all seamlessly integrated with Microsoft Office.
Microsoft’s business applications also will interoperate with service-oriented applications and include a common configurable reporting environment based on SQL Server Reporting Services and a common security-enhanced intranet and extranet environment based on Microsoft Office SharePoint Portal Server. This is intended to enable new levels of collaboration within and across companies.
The second release wave, which will begin shipping in 2008, will build on the first wave’s innovation and apply a model-driven approach to business processes. Advances released during the second wave will draw on the power of WinFX and Visual Studio.NET.
Unveiling the Road Map
“Windows and Office are a powerful foundation for productivity and a rich platform for partners to build great solutions and add value,” said Microsoft Chief Software Architect Bill Gates. “The Microsoft Business Solutions group builds on that foundation to deliver world-class business applications that are simpler and less expensive, offering more companies new ways to enhance the way they work.”
Building on that foundation, Microsoft will launch Microsoft Great Plains 8.0 Extensions in the first quarter of 2005. The second quarter will see Axapta 3.0 Service Pack 4 hit the market, along with a next-generation point-of-sale solution.
Microsoft Navision 4.01 and Microsoft Forecaster 7.0 will launch in the third quarter of 2005. In the fourth quarter, Microsoft Great Plains 8.5, Business Portal 3.0, Solomon 6.5, and the next version of Microsoft CRM will be made available.
Looking ahead, in the first quarter of 2006, integration of Microsoft Business Solutions for Analytics FRx 6.7 with Microsoft Navision 3.0 and Microsoft Navision 4.0 will be introduced. In the first half of 2006, Microsoft FRx 7.0 will be released, with Microsoft Forecaster 8.0 scheduled for launch in the second half of next year.