A Pro Advantage for MBS

Microsoft widened its Great Plains business software suite with business analytics help from its partner, Professional Advantage, the company said on Monday.

Professional Advantage, a Microsoft independent software vendor based in Fargo, North Dakota, sold Microsoft global rights to Microsoft Business Solutions-specific code it had developed for its own product, the Professional Advantage Webhouse Server. The former Webhouse product will now be sold as Analysis Cubes for Excel, within the Great Plains product set.

Analysis Cubes is one of the components of a new business intelligence foundation layer Microsoft added to its Great Plains 8.0 Professional Edition. The software will be available for download as a separate module in the last week of March.

Analysis Cubes let Microsoft up the ante on Great Plains with the addition of a new “Business Intelligence Foundation Layer.” Microsoft said the enhancement offers deeper financial analysis abilities and more comprehensive tracking of information flow, both of which can help businesses with planning and decision-making.

The company also announced two other modules to extend the enterprise resource planning (ERP) suite. Grant Management adds functions specific to non-profit organizations; the Extender Module is designed to make it easier for ISVs and customers to customize the software. These two downloadable modules are available now.

In its press release about the product update, the company touted the upgrade as “further proof of Microsoft’s commitment to support and enhance the Microsoft Business Solutions-Great Plains solution…” Microsoft is working hard to reassure partners and resellers that it has no plans to dump the MBS product line, which came through a series of acquisitions, in favor of a home-grown ERP product, code-named Project Green.

At the Microsoft Convergence conference for MBS partners and customers last week, Microsoft promised to support and develop the MBS products through 2013.

In a separate announcement, Microsoft announced the general availability of Visual FoxPro 9.0, a database application development tool. The software lets developers build .NET-compatible applications that use XML to connect with Web services and Microsoft’s proprietary SQL Server. The software was first released in December 2004.

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