Microsoft Integrates Great Plains into Organization,
- By Scott Bekker
. completes its $1.1 billion acquisition of Great Plains Software
, fully integrating
the company into the Microsoft organization. The Fargo, ND software vendor creates
products for managing mid-sized businesses.
While Microsoft’s business product line focuses
primarily on productivity applications, such as Office, or general purpose
server frameworks, such as the SQL Server database server, Great Plains’
products are targeted at specific business needs, such as payroll record-keeping
and procurement management. The acquisition of the company signals a shift in
strategy for Redmond.
When the merger was first announced, a number of
Microsoft partners cried foul. Microsoft was now in a position where it would
compete with valued partners in the ERP space, at the mid-sized business level.
It is unclear if Microsoft plans to scale up the Great Plains assets for
The next generation of Great Plains products would
offer tight integration with Microsoft’s .NET product family. Presumably, the software
will use XML and SOAP to integrate with Microsoft servers. Microsoft also
hinted that it will be accessible from a variety of .NET-enabled devices
including PCs, PDAs, and the upcoming Stinger smart phone.
that Redmond plans to enable users to add Great Plains reports to its Digital
Dashboard using it’s C# language and WebParts, XML-based objects used in
SharePoint Portal Server.
According to the reports, the Great Plains division
will base its next generation of software on C#, and will be due in 2002.
Dubbed “Business Desk,” it will allow end user management based on business
Redmond also noted that its bCentral small business
service will also leverage components of the Great Plains product family.
Microsoft is aggressive in pursuing the software-as-a-service model, and may
seek a niche in offering Great Plains services to small businesses lacking the
resources for internal Great Plains deployments.Christopher McConnell
Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.