Microsoft Business Solutions (MBS) division has more than just the launch of the 1.2 release of Microsoft CRM on its plate in the coming months.Microsoft Business Solutions late last month released to manufacturing its Microsoft Business Network (MBN) code, a couple of months later than it had hoped. MBN officially RTM'd on August 22, a company spokeswoman confirms.
"It will be available in the next couple of months," she adds.
Prior to its acquisition by Microsoft, Great Plains was working on an EDI-like network that would be optimized for small/mid-size businesses (SMBs). MBN - a B2B network designed to connect suppliers to their customers - is the fruit of that labor. Unlike traditional EDI systems, however, MBN makes use of XML for sharing documents and data.
Microsoft plans to make MBN available through its volume-licensing programs, according to a customer guide published to its Web site. Microsoft will push the message that MBN can be used to connect to not only smaller trading partners, but larger ones, too, according to the guide. Integration with smaller partners is built around Outlook and Excel. But integration with mid- and large-size partners will mean shelling out for BizTalk Server, in many cases.
But MBN's not the only SMB hot spot. Microsoft Business Solutions also is working on adding demand-planning capabilities to its stable of offerings.
Demand-planning software helps customers schedule and plan manufacturing-production activities.
Microsoft has confirmed it is working on adding a demand-planning module to the next refresh of its Microsoft Business Portal. But it seems this business-planning functionality is coming from a third-party partner, not from Microsoft itself.
Milan, Italy-based TXT - a supplier of content-management, supply-chain and customer-management software - has signed a deal with Microsoft to provide the Redmond software vendor with demand-planning functionality for not only its business portal, but also for its Navision, Axapta and Great Plains software products. The deal is non-exclusive. TXT will receive license royalties for each sale. That's all according to a TXT press release, issued on August 27.
TXT is planning to complete the integration of its demand-planning technology into Microsoft's wares in time to show it off to Microsoft partners in the fourth quarter, according to the TXT release.
TXT did not reply to a request for further details. A spokeswoman for Microsoft's MBS unit declined to comment on the TXT announcement.