More than 500 customers and partners are expected today at Microsoft Corp.s first Business Summit, where the company will reveal its technology and customer engagement vision for midsize businesses. At the event, Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates and CEO Steve Ballmer will outline Microsofts vision for business software that works the way people in midsize businesses work, delivered by partners with local and industry-specific expertise and provided through a more personalized relationship with customers.
Microsoft announced it will deliver on this vision titled Together, we build business by focusing development efforts on a role-based software design that integrates business applications, server infrastructure and productivity solutions to meet the unique requirements of midsize business. Key to this strategy are Microsoft Dynamics, the companys new line of business applications; Centro, the code name for a new infrastructure solution targeting this segment; and the continuing evolution of Office as a platform for business. Microsoft is also announcing a series of programs and tools to make it easier for midsize businesses to manage their relationship with Microsoft.
We believe that people drive business success and technology is the key to amplifying their impact, Ballmer said. Today is a milestone in our work to build deeper customer connections and deliver a new generation of business software that works the way midsize companies really work.
Software That Works the Way Midsize Businesses Work
Microsofts strategy and road map to deliver software that is uniquely suited to midsize businesses are centered on the following:
Microsoft Dynamics. Microsoft is announcing today a new brand name, Microsoft Dynamics, for its comprehensive integrated line of business solutions built on technology from the research and development project formerly known as Project Green. Based on extensive customer research, Microsoft Dynamics includes a technology foundation of 50 core roles based on specific job functions within a midsize business. This role-based business software is closely integrated with Microsoft Office, Microsoft Office SharePoint Portal Server, Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services and the overall Microsoft platform to deliver a unique level of affordability and adaptability based around the typical jobs that people in midsize businesses perform.
New major releases of existing Microsoft Business Solutions products will transition to the Microsoft Dynamics name over the course of the next year. Microsoft will release versions of Microsoft Dynamics GP (formerly Great Plains) and Microsoft Dynamics CRM (formerly Microsoft CRM) later this year, and versions of Microsoft Dynamics AX (formerly Axapta), Microsoft Dynamics NAV (formerly Navision) and Microsoft Dynamics SL (formerly Solomon) in 2006.
Microsoft Windows Server Centro. Microsoft is announcing today that it is developing a new server infrastructure solution to address the needs of a specific midsize business role: the overworked IT generalist. Centro is the code name for a new infrastructure solution planned for the midsize segment that will bring together Windows Server Longhorn, next-generation Microsoft Exchange and security technologies, and a new, integrated management experience. This new solution aims to help midsize businesses save time and money and allow IT professionals to do more with less. Centro is scheduled to be available soon after the release of the next version of Windows Server, code-named Longhorn.
Microsoft is announcing an additional offering, the Windows Server System Assessment and Deployment Solution for Midsize Businesses, which includes tools and prescriptive guidance for each phase of the customers project life cycle (evaluation, planning, building, deploying and operating). This offerings goal is to significantly reduce the cost and risk associated with assessment, migration and deployment of Windows Server System infrastructure projects in midsize businesses.
Microsoft Office System. Microsoft Office has evolved from a suite of personal productivity products to a more comprehensive and integrated system of programs, servers and services that provide the foundation for Microsofts role-based software approach. Microsoft Office is becoming a fundamental part of the companys business applications strategy, as Office continues to evolve as a platform to include additional capabilities for Extensible Markup Language (XML) integration, workflow services, and portal and line-of-business integration.
Midsize Businesses Poised to Benefit From the Power of Software
Technology can drive great revenue and growth opportunity for midsize customers, according to a study performed by Keystone Strategy Inc. under the leadership of Harvard Business School professor Marco Iansiti and sponsored by Microsoft. The study found that midsize businesses with enhanced IT capabilities achieve higher sustained revenue growth than their peers. For example, an analysis of 235 U.S. companies in five product industries that have 100500 employees found that the businesses which scored higher on IT capability exhibited a significantly higher level of profitable sales growth.
The midsize segment is a significant force in the global economy as well, especially in terms of technology investment and projected growth. According to research conducted by AMI, the segment consists of 1.4 million businesses worldwide with a projected annual growth rate of 5 percent. Midsize companies have an installed base of 68 million PCs, with an average of 49 per company, as well as 4.8 million servers, or 3.4 per company. In terms of IT investments, Midsize businesses spent $134 billion on software and IT services in 2004, which is expected to grow to $185 billion by 2009 (a 7 percent compound annual growth rater, or CAGR). This represented $96,000 in spending per entity in 2004, which is expected to grow to $106,000 by 2009.
Relationship With Microsoft On Customers Terms
Microsoft research indicates that midsize business customers expect a more personalized relationship with their primary software vendor. To help facilitate this, Microsoft is introducing programs and tools to help customers manage their relationships with Microsoft based on customers specific needs. One focal point of this strategy is the new Midsize Business Center, where customers can find information relevant to midsize companies, assess their IT capabilities, find local partners with the expertise to meet their needs, and access live and online technical support. Microsoft is also enhancing its Open Value licensing program, designed specifically for midsize companies, that allows for simplified license tracking, more control over the software upgrade cycle and improved management of software costs.
Partners Deliver Local and Industry Expertise
To better serve the midsize customer segment and connect those businesses to industry partners with offerings to meet their specific business needs, Microsoft recently launched Solution Finder, a new and more customer-centric way for businesses to identify solutions and services available from Microsoft partners on the Microsoft Web site using keyword searches. Microsoft expects to have as many as 10,000 solutions profiled on the site over the next 12 months. Solution Finder will be available in the fall at the Midsize Business Center.