Microsoft has outlined plans to offer technology to simplify software integration and to support increased collaboration capabilities for users of its business applications.
At its Convergence 2003 conference in Orlando, Microsoft will try to sell users on the idea that its applications can be used to integrate various business processes, said Lynne Stockstad, general manager of global solutions at Microsoft's business solutions unit.
For example, companies could link their employees and business partners in automated workflows that support customer relationship management (CRM), supply chain operations and other activities, she said.
As part of the strategy, Microsoft will unveil integration and user-interface enhancements to simplify development of collaborative applications. Stockstad was sketchy on the details but did say the plan includes adding an end-user portal or a similar role-based interface that will give workers a view of the business functions relevant to their jobs.
The integration moves planned by Microsoft are key requirements for midsized companies that the company is targeting with its applications, said Katherine Jones, an analyst at Aberdeen Group.
Companies at that level often are plagued by continued reliance on repetitive manual processes that bog down productivity, such as having to copy customer information from one application to another, Jones said. Adding a portal isn't a unique step on Microsoft's part, but it could help end users do their jobs more efficiently, she added.