Microsoft Touts Vertical Apps

By Renee Boucher Ferguson  |  Posted 2006-07-09 Print this article Print

The company prods partners to create more industry-specific software.

At Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Conference in Boston July 11-13, the company again is hoping to go vertical via its massive Microsoft Business Solutions partner channel to become a bigger enterprise resource planning player.

At the Worldwide Partner Conference in Minneapolis last year, the push from on high was to create a sea change within the MBS partner channel, prodding partners through new programs such as IBI, or the Industry Builder initiative, to develop more vertically oriented applications and align sales around "classic" Microsoft technologies from .Net to Visual Studio.

Microsoft again is evangelizing IBI, announcing on July 10 four new partners—Atos Origin, Infonizer, TXT e-Solutions and WellPoint Systems—and their industry-specific modules developed under the IBI umbrella.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer will host a kickoff event July 10 for Dynamics AX (formerly Microsoft Axapta) 4.0, whose partners are part of IBI. Also on July 10, Microsoft will announce a new pricing structure, Business Ready Licensing, that vastly simplifies software licensing for channel partners and their customers.

Business Ready Licensing scraps the concept of buying ERP software based on modules and instead charges for the number of concurrent users actually using the software. At the same time, the new licensing structure homes in on three areas of common functionality.

Microsoft Dynamics Business Essentials Edition is designed for companies that need core financial management and trade software. Microsoft Dynamics Advanced Management Edition is geared toward customers who need complex, highly functional financial and accounting software to manage supply chain, manufacturing and project accounting needs, with business intelligence and reporting capabilities.

Lastly, Microsoft Dynamics Advanced Management Enterprise extends the Advanced Management Edition with more supply chain management functionality, field service, configuration, manufacturing and development capabilities on a flat-fee basis.

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