Hoping to deepen Office's corporate roots, Microsoft on Monday will debut a set of offerings designed to help users exact more value from its suite of applications.
The Microsoft Office Solution Accelerator program consists of a set of software components, templates, and architectural guidance from the company. The first seven Office Solution Accelerators will ship this fall with others to follow later this year and into next.
"These solutions are focused on very specific business problems common among a broad range of users. We looked at departments like human resources, finance, and sales groups and how they are using Office so we could integrate those products in a way to streamline problems in any one those departments," said Anders Brown, Group Product Manager with Microsoft's Information Worker Division in Redmond, Wash.
The Microsoft Office Solution Accelerator for Recruiting helps cut out inefficiencies associated with a number of recruiting functions. By better integrating these functions users can reduce costs and administrative tasks as well as improve service levels. The Solution for Proposals better enables users to produce proposals faster and compliance while helping streamline the proposal creation process by leveraging the corporate knowledge base and providing better document management.
The Solution for Sarbanes-Oxley helps users more cost effectively gain compliance with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. It is based on industry best practices and is intended to help organizations to address important compliance needs including business process documentation and distributed certification. The Solution for Six Sigma offers users a way to mange their Six Sigma projects, by giving them better insights into the financial impact of their projects and better allowing them to learn from knowledge previously gathered.
The Solution for eXtensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL) reportedly provides users with a way to streamline their financial reporting processes by using XBRL. Users can standardize the way they do both internal and external financial information management processes, a company spokesman said.
Other components include the Solution for Excel Reporting, a business intelligence-based product for executives that extends the spreadsheet's ability to create richer reports, and the Solution for Business Scorecards, another business intelligence product that helps users manage performance projects and improve the accuracy in decision making.
Microsoft plans to make the solutions available through its network of authorized business partners. It will help customize end-to-end solutions for users by integrating, configuring and customizing the accelerators. Microsoft officials said the program will give the majority of its business partners' an opening into new markets to further grow their business.
Some partners appeared upbeat about such prospects the program potentially affords them.
"The Office Solution Accelerators looks like it will allow us to quickly relate customer pains to more demonstrable solutions. This sort of thing was always expensive and time consuming in the past," said Rob O'Dell, National Solutions Director, Immedient Corp. a Microsoft partner that focuses on solution deployment and integration.