RealTime IT News

Microsoft Bows SMB Part of Great Plains

Microsoft Great Plains announced a beefed-up version of its Solomon IV e-business and supply-chain management (SCM) software for small-and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), adding modules for inventory, sales, and accounting.

The rollout of Solomon IV Release 5.0 comes a week after Microsoft forked out $1.3 billion to buy Navision, a Danish company that will expand Microsoft's reach into the European market.

The three new modules of Solomon IV Release 5.0 are:

  • Inventory replenishment, which helps companies track and restock their inventories;
  • Order-to-purchase, a sales-fulfillment tool; and
  • Landed-cost, an accounting tool for figuring in extra costs - shipping, handling, and import fees - above merchandise costs.

Solomon IV 5.0 also offers new payroll functions for construction businesses, a project series for international invoicing, a multi-company database, and a dispatching tool using Microsoft MapPoint.

The new Solomon software costs $4,500 for a single user.

Microsoft has attacked the enterprise resource planning (ERP) mid-market with a vengeance since acquiring Fargo, N.D.-based Great Plains in December 2000 in a $1.1 billion all-stock deal. The move marked Microsoft's first foray into a new business area since 1995.

Navision is designed to serve as a European complement to Great Plains, giving Microsoft a powerful presence in the ERP market for SMBs in just a year and a half. The new business solutions division, with 3,600 employees and strength in both the U.S. and European markets, will be a formidable competitor to ERP stalwarts like SAP, PeopleSoft and Oracle.

Meanwhile, Microsoft Great Plains has said it remains on track to release its much-anticipated customer relationship management software later this year.