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'Project Green' Renamed Microsoft Dynamics

The realignment of the Microsoft Business Solutions product set previously referred to as "Project Green" got its official name Wednesday -- Microsoft Dynamics.

The announcement came out of Microsoft's new Business Summit on the Redmond campus, where the company is focusing on the needs of medium-sized businesses, which the company defines as having 25 to 500 PCs.

In an executive e-mail sent early Wednesday, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer framed the problem by saying that in doing market research at midsize companies, Microsoft found that "today's business software doesn't look enough like today's businesses."

"We have designed the next generation of our business solutions, which we're calling Dynamics, around 50 of the most common roles in a midsize company. These solutions expose and connect the specific activities, processes and reports people need for real jobs inside a company, whether they're the president, the finance manager, the warehouse worker or the support clerk. And they'll have the familiar look and feel people know from using Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Office today," Ballmer wrote.

Microsoft will rebrand the core Microsoft Business Solutions products with the Dynamics name as new versions roll out next year. The grand plan is to roll four of the core products into one product in 2008, while offering Microsoft's CRM product both as part of the suite or separately.

In 2006 the product names will change from:

  • Microsoft CRM to Microsoft Dynamics CRM
  • Microsoft Business Solutions-Great Plains to Microsoft Dynamics GP
  • Microsoft Business Solutions-Axapta to Microsoft Dynamics AX
  • Microsoft Business Solutions-Navision to Microsoft Dynamics NAV
  • Microsoft Business Solutions-Solomon to Microsoft Dynamics SL.

    The 2006 releases, called the wave 1 releases of Microsoft Dynamics, will include a more unified look and feel, contextual business intelligence, a greater emphasis on portals and increased integration with Web services.

    Wave 2, in 2008, is supposed to deliver "best of" features and functionality of Axapta, Great Plains, Navision and Solomon. A separate version of Microsoft CRM that will be released in wave 2 will be available with or without the rest of Microsoft Dynamics.

    To reduce the licensing uncertainty surrounding product consolidations, Microsoft is promoting a current licensing option called Transformational Assurance. "The Transitional Assurance benefit of the Enhancement Program is that when customers license Microsoft Business Solutions-Solomon, including the Standard editions, as well as Microsoft CRM, and stay current on the Microsoft Business Solutions Enhancement Program, they will be able to move to the future business application suite without having to reacquire the functionality they already license," Microsoft corporate vice president in the Microsoft Business Solutions Group Tami Reller said in a Q&A posted on Microsoft's site.

    Microsoft Business Solutions is one of seven divisions at Microsoft. The company will continue to refer to the division by that name internally. Microsoft will also keep the current names for the division's other products: Microsoft Point of Sale, Microsoft Retail Management System, Microsoft FRx and Microsoft C5.

  • About the Author

    Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.