Microsoft will increase the number of business scenario-specific add-ons for its Office 2003 products and make them available at no charge to all Office users.
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The add-ons, called Office Solution Accelerators, are packages of components, templates and architectural guidelines designed to help users streamline specific business tasks using Office 2003 applications. Microsoft already offers two accelerators, one for recruiting and one for proposals.
Microsoft has specified four more accelerators to deliver before the end of its financial year on 30 June. It has set a goal to offer a further 12 in its next financial year, although a spokesman declined to say which 12 the comany is working on.
The Office additions will now be available to all Office users at no charge. Previously, only those customers who signed up to Microsoft's Software Assurance maintenance and upgrade plan were offered the Solution Accelerators.
The Solution Accelerators require some configuration and customisation, which can be done by a Microsoft partner or by a customer's own IT department. The target audience is businesses with 1,000 PCs or more. The product add-ons are offered worldwide.
The Office accelerators are Office Solution Accelerator for Six Sigma, Office Solution Accelerator for Sarbanes-Oxley, Office Solution Accelerator for Excel Olap Reporting and Office Solution Accelerator for Business Scorecards.
Joris Evers writes for IDG News Service