|Other MBS Products|
|Feb. 16, 2004|
Microsoft has rounded out its business management software line through a combination of in-house development and acquisitions.
Microsoft Customer Relationship Management (MSCRM). MSCRM, developed by the Microsoft Business Solutions (MBS) group, helps small and mid-size businesses manage customer relationships. Sales and customer service personnel can record, track, and update customer interactions, such as sales leads or inquiries about service requests, using Outlook or a Web browser as the client. The product was first released in Mar. 2003 and so far has been marketed exclusively in North America. About 1,000 customers have bought it.
Microsoft Business Portal (MBP). Introduced in Apr. 2003, MBP provides employees with browser-based access to Great Plains and Solomon data and applications. MBP uses modular components called Web Parts to format and display information tailored to particular individuals and roles, allowing a manager to view only the sales reports relevant to his region, for example.
Microsoft Business Network (MBN). To help small and mid-size businesses automate and manage supply chains, Microsoft launched the MBN in Oct. 2003. MBN combines on-site software and subscription-based, Microsoft-hosted Web services to help companies connect to their partners and exchange business documents, such as purchase orders and invoices.
Microsoft Business Solutions for Analytics FRx. FRx, acquired by Great Plains in its Feb. 2000 purchase of FRx Software, simplifies periodic financial reporting and helps maintain reporting data consistency for groups of financial analysts and planners. Reports are generated directly from more than 50 general ledger systems, including Great Plains and Solomon. FRx allows analysts to drill into and examine source data when anomalies arise, which eliminates many problems encountered in the ad hoc, Excel-based financial reporting processes used by many companies. The default financial reporting solution for Great Plains and Solomon, FRx has more than 115,000 customers, many of whom use FRx with non-MBS accounting systems.
Microsoft Business Solutions for Analytics Forecaster. Forecaster, also gained in the FRx Software acquisition, is a Web-based tool for creating, populating, and tracking budgets. It provides a central repository at which financial planners and other workers can access and update budgets, obviating the error-prone and time-consuming process of maintaining and consolidating spreadsheet-based budgets. With Forecaster, financial planners can create budget baselines that follow the accounting structure of their company’s general ledger system and import actuals from those systems to populate budgets.
Retail Management System (RMS). In its May 2002 acquisition of Sales Management Systems, Microsoft gained several retail point-of-sale and inventory management applications, which it rebranded as RMS. Adopted by about 6,500 customers, RMS integrates with Great Plains and Solomon, allowing businesses to link retail store activity with other corporate financial information. For example, RMS can pass account activity data to Solomon or Great Plains general ledgers, giving retail businesses the ability to view and track store activity, such as sales and commissions, individually or in consolidated views (for example, regionally). Such integration gives Microsoft and resellers more ammunition against Intuit, which also sells point-of-sale systems and accounting software to small and mid-size retailers.