Microsoft Completes Navision Deal, Drops Great Plains Name: Microsoft Corp. has completed its acquisition of Navision and has put that accounting software developer in an organization that has been renamed Microsoft Business Solutions from Microsoft/Great Plains Business Solutions.

The former name had been used since Microsoft created its business software group upon acquiring the former Great Plains, last year. While Microsoft Business Solutions is now the developer of the lines that were originally built by Great Plains and Navision, those companies’ names will still be included on the products’ labeling Great Plains’ products include Dynamics and E-Enterprise, while Navision’s are named Axapta and Attain.

Doug Burgum, senior vice president of Microsoft and former chief executive of Great Plains, is the head of Microsoft Business Solutions. Navision co-chief executives Jesper Balser and Preben Damgaard will become Microsoft Business Solutions’ director of global strategy, and director of Europe, Middle East and Africa operations, respectively.

Reseller Altara Adds Enterprise Resource Group: Altara, the accounting software reseller formerly known as DMS Technology Solutions, has added its second new business and location since late last year, by merging with Enterprise Resource Group, a Sacramento, Calif.-based reseller of Microsoft Business Solutions’ Great Plains products.

The merger brings Altara, based in Cedar Knolls, N.J., to 50 employees in total, and expands its Great Plains expertise. The company also handles Microsoft’s Solomon products and Best Software’s Best Enterprise Suite.

Altara established a Minneapolis office late last year by hiring Scott Boedigheimer, a former Microsoft/Great Plains product practice leader for Larson Allen Weishair & Co., a regional CPA firm in that city.

Greg Kaeser, co-founder of Enterprise Resource Group, will serve as Altara’s chief executive, responsible for acquisitions, accounting, legal and human resources. Helene Cole, founder of DMS, will be its president, responsible for business corporate relationships, sales and marketing.

Best Var Adds MIP: Solution Strategists of Cranford, N.J., a longtime reseller of Best Software’s commercial market accounting products, has signed on to resell products from Best nonprofit industry software development specialist, Micro Information Products.

"SSI’s solid reputation as an organization that provides world-class consulting services and support promotes our ‘customer for life’ approach to the market," said Kent Hollrah, president of Austin, Texas-based MIP. Hollrah has also praised SSI’s president Art Nathan’s ability to work with and obtain referral business from CPA firms.

Nathan, in turn, complimented MIP for its "long-standing commitment to the highest quality products and client satisfaction."

CRM Vendor Interface Making Upgrades: Interface Software is developing a new version of its Interaction client relationship management software with features that include a dashboard type of user interface and a bi-directional synchronization with Lotus Notes and with Microsoft Outlook.

The Oak Brook, Ill.-based company said that the enhancements improve users’ abilities to spot business opportunities, and more quickly realize a return on investment from the software. It noted that the synchronizations with Outlook and Lotus Notes allows users to more immediately transfer contact information from those systems into Interaction.

Other enhancements include new data change management rules and processes "to help ensure the ongoing integrity and accuracy" of the stored client data. Interaction is designed for accountants and other service professionals, including financial planners and lawyers. For more information, visit www.interfacesoftware.com.

IRS To Implent XML In E-Filing: The Internal Revenue Service plans to implement Extensible Markup Language, the Internet-based programming code that allows for faster distribution and retrieval of electronic data, into its e-filing program.

Terry Lutes, the IRS’ director of electronic tax administration, said that XML development will initially focus on the e-filing of Forms 940, 941 and 1120/1120S, and will eventually be extended to 1040s and 1041s. "All future development will be based on XML," he said in an IRS-sponsored panel discussion on the Internet in early July.

Lutes said that he expected that the IRS’s embrace of XML will prompt software developers to build that technology into their programs.

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