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Microsoft Shares Code Microsoft is supporting development of applications by third parties through what it calls Shared Source, which enables developers to write code for Microsoft applications.

The ideas for code suggestions are made via two online forums, the Dynamics Snap Sandbox and the CRM Sandbox. Developers can exchange ideas and code in these areas. "It provides much of the benefit of collaborative development within a proprietary method," says David Dennis.

FRx Unit Renamed

Partner Insights

Microsoft's FRx Software, which markets analytical applications under the FRx name, is going to be brought under the corporate name.

The unit, which will continue to operate as a separate subsidiary, will now be called Microsoft Brand Financial Performance Management Solutions, says Andy Kamlet, director of analytics marketing. The FRx name will continue to be used with the FRx Forecaster and the FRx financial report writer since those products are distributed through OEMs that include Sage Software.

Q4Bis Seeks Channel

Q4Bis, which makes analytical software, wants

to recruit value-added resellers to handle its business intelligence applications.

"It's one of our big initiatives for the year," says Louis LaLonde, vice president of strategic partnership management, who joined the company two months ago to put together a channel. About 12 have been signed. Q4Bis products include Q4Bis Analysis, in which different views of corporate data can be displayed in four on-screen quadrants.

NAV Installs to Speed Up

Microsoft has announced the Rapid Implementation Methodology for Dynamics NAV, which the company says is designed to make the implementation process more efficient and predictable.

Tools include project schedules, questionnaires, set-up data files, and master data migration templates. Dynamics NAV (formerly known as Navision) will also get a connector to integrate with Dynamics CRM 3.0. The Navision improvement effort has been going for at least two years. At Convergence 2004, product manager. Jan Sillermann said that that Navision had become too complex and too difficult to install.

GP Extensions Introduced

Microsoft is speeding up the release of features for Dynamics GP 9.0 through the release of extensions that will rolled out relatively quickly over the next few months.

"They don't require a data upgrade," notes Lynn Stockstad, general manager for Microsoft Dynamics GP. The first extensions, released in March, include Field Service Anywhere for service technicians, which can be deployed through mobile devices. The others include two features aimed at Sarbanes-Oxley compliance: audit trails and electronic signatures.

Vision Fitness Gets Award

Vision Fitness, which designs and distributes exercise equipment, was named for Overall Excellence as Microsoft named the end user companies that received the Pinnacle Awards for customer achievement for 2006.

Pinnacle Awards are given for use of Microsoft business applications. Among the other companies receiving awards were Jet Support Services and Parts Now for Excellence in Innovation.

Hosted CRM Version Available

Microsoft has introduced a Professional Edition for Service Providers that is designed to simplify deployment and operation of Microsoft CRM 3.0 in hosted environments.

Customers can chose hosted, on-premise, or a combination of the two in deploying the CRM application. Users can choose interfaces that include roles-based CRM capabilities via Outlook.

Sonata Launches Analytics

Sonata Software, a Indian company, has developed Packaged Analytics and Dashboard applications for Dynamics AX and Dynamics CRM.

Sonata's applications provide easier-to-use interfaces and tiered, drill-down functionality. The company also markets its Enterprise Budget Software, which is designed to support public sector budget lifecycles.

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