Dynamics--Microsoft's Midsize Business Tools
Microsoft's next generation of business tools for midsize organizations will be called Dynamics, said Bill Gates in his keynote Wednesday at the Microsoft Business Summit. The company's chairman and chief software architect also said that the driving force behind these tools will be companies making business processes accessible through personal productivity tools, such as Excel and Word. Dynamics will be tailored around "preventing people from having to transfer data manually between personal productivity tools and business applications, such as accounting, supply chain management, and CRM."
The new road map follows years of extensive research on more than 750 midsize companies through which Microsoft discovered that these organizations are looking for applications that integrate easily with their daily business processes and personal productivity software that their workers take for granted. "Customers said they want solutions that are built around this problem," Gates said. "They want software that understands what people in organizations are trying to accomplish on a day-in and day-out basis."
Gates identified two pieces of technology to satisfy these demands: the software and the continued reliance on service-oriented architecture (SOA). Dynamic software solutions will be designed to expose and connect specific activities, processes, and reports people use for tasks at midsize companies, and to have the "familiar look and feel people know from using Windows and Office." In addition, Gates singled out five departments within midsize organizations: finance, IT, management, operations, and sales and marketing in which Dynamics will focus on "understanding" business processes.
SOA, which continues to gain momentum among IT departments, will be equally important. Midsize companies face many of the same global partner and customer problems that enterprises do. The ability to connect a customer's or partner's system via multiple servers and/or sites is a critical requirement of today's IT departments, Gates said. He cited Microsoft's XML architecture as a basis for the company's future SOA offerings. "By using XML a company can open all their CRM data to their partner network and customers, and allow for the flexibility to support various business practices, such as mobile workers.
"We're taking a roles-based approach towards our business solutions. We're creating easier, user-friendly solutions to enable workers to simplify their business processes without having to switch out of applications or change screens."
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