Redmond, Wash. - Microsoft Corp. has released module extensions for its Great Plains 8.0 Professional Edition - enhancing the areas of business intelligence, industry functionality and expanded customization.

The new business intelligence layer, which was to be made available in the last week of March, includes a number of tools such as analysis cubes for Excel, key performance indicators for Business Portal users, and integration with Microsoft's Accelerator for Sarbanes-Oxley.

"As the world at work changes and evolves, the innovative technology of Microsoft Business Solutions grows and changes to keep pace," said Jeff Young, general manager for Great Plains, in a statement.

Allowing users to pull information directly from the SQL server database, the new OLAP cubes feature transforms the SQL data into an Excel interface for analysis. This allows CPAs and financial officers to see trends and examine the data in ways specific to the user's needs.

Modules for nonprofits and public sector organizations are also included in the new releases with a new grant management module. This extension integrates with another new release - the analytical accounting module. The enhancement will extend functionality for these organizations so that they do not have to manually manage and calculate their grants. And budgeting features within the new product permit users to create budgeting trees and budgeting summaries on a variety of levels.

The Microsoft Great Plains Extender module provides expanded customization, with the ability to add new windows to user-defined fields, capture detailed notes and track exact information.

Other modules include Microsoft Business Portal, which provides security-enhanced data access policies that enable users to safely extend the Portal to their customers; a Microsoft Business Portal Human Resources Management Self-Service Suite, which allows timecard status functionality; analytical accounting updates; and Microsoft Great Plains Professional CRM Suite, among others.

The 12 new modules range in price from $625 to $7,000, and are available for downloading from Microsoft's Web site, www.microsoft.com.

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