Partner Opportunity for Microsoft Office System Estimated at US$117 Billion by 2006
Oct. 10, 2003
More than 700 Office System-based solutions are to be built and brought to market by the October 21 launch of the Microsoft Office System, six times the number at the Office XP launch in 2001.

A Rich New Solutions Platform

Microsoft Office System is the latest release of the Microsoft Office product family, used by more than 300 million users in 175 countries. It extends the standard desktop productivity programs with new, innovative XML-based programs, servers, services and tools. It enables organizations to build business solutions using a traditional client/server infrastructure or a Web services architecture based on the Microsoft .NET Framework. The Microsoft Office System provides a more complete and unified platform on which partners can build business solutions.

In addition to the opportunities for XML integration around familiar desktop applications such as Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint, Microsoft Office System presents additional solution development opportunities around other Office products, notably Microsoft Office SharePoint Portal Server 2003, Microsoft Office Project 2003, Microsoft Office InfoPath 2003, Microsoft Office Visio 2003 and Microsoft Exchange 2003.

Microsoft Office SharePoint Portal Server 2003 -based solutions allow teams to meet online, share information, and collaborate on documents in real time, enhancing productivity. Windows SharePoint Services, also part of the Microsoft Office System, is the server engine for creating Web sites that enable this information and document sharing. Using these two products, solution providers can develop portals that are customized and personalized to their customers' needs.

Microsoft Office Project 2003 offers a complete Enterprise Project management solution with powerful scheduling, tracking and communications capabilities. Partners can integrate Project with SharePoint Portal Server and other Office System products to create dynamic, shared project management applications that put all team members in touch with one another and with real-time data to help make fast, well-informed decisions.

Microsoft Office InfoPath 2003 is an application that helps organizations collect information quickly and uniformly. Partners can build custom information-gathering solutions that allow organizations to publish forms to a SharePoint portal, a Web server or a shared network folder. The information collected in the forms can then be integrated with other Office System applications to ensure up-to-the-minute information accuracy throughout the organization.

Microsoft Office Visio 2003 is a business and technical diagramming application that enables people to document, design, visualize and optimize their business processes and IT systems in ways that words and numbers alone cannot. Using Visio, partners can easily integrate with other products and services to deliver dynamic, data-connected visual solutions addressing needs across a wide range of industries that provide organizations with the necessary tools to easily communicate and understand processes broadly.

Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 is the foundation for the most secure, reliable messaging infrastructure on the market. Customers can take advantage of many antivirus and antispam solutions built on Exchange 2003, more efficient and effective Exchange data backup and restore, and a higher level of connectivity for the mobile workforce.

Partner Opportunity for Microsoft Office System Estimated at US$117 Billion by 2006

EDITORS' NOTE, Oct. 16, 2003 In the sixth paragraph below, the amount Microsoft is investing in partner programs for Office System solution development has been corrected to US$500 million. Microsoft is investing approximately US$1.5 billion on all partner programs companywide.

REDMOND, Wash. , Oct. 10, 2003 At the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference in New Orleans, Microsoft highlighted the industry partner momentum surrounding the Oct. 21 launch of Microsoft Office System. The breadth of new programs, servers and services in the Office System has resulted in greater partner opportunities for creating and supporting a new generation of customer solutions as well as in many more opportunities for increasing personal, team and organizational productivity in organizations of all sizes.

"Analysts estimate the market for productivity business solutions that could be addressed by partners building on the Microsoft Office System will grow to US$117 billion by 2006," says Jeff Raikes, group vice president of Productivity and Business Services at Microsoft. "The Office System includes new collaboration, business process and XML support that create new opportunities for partners to build customized solutions for even the smallest businesses. Microsoft partners will play a critical role in bringing these new solutions to market, and Microsoft is supporting them with new partner programs."

Savings for Customers and Partners

Haba ñ ero, a Microsoft solution provider based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, was one of the first partners to jump on the Microsoft Office System bandwagon as a way to create richer capabilities for customers and reduce development time. Haba ñ ero created an automated project initiation system for a large Canadian health authority that eliminates bureaucratic inefficiency from governmental project and purchasing processes. Using Microsoft Office InfoPath 2003, Microsoft Office Project 2003, Microsoft Office Word 2003, and Microsoft BizTalk 2003, Haba ñ ero created an application that allows an individual to initiate an online purchase request. The system automatically provides the correct forms, obtains needed authorizations, notifies related departments such as training or facilities, populates sections of forms with information pulled from other applications, and generally watchdogs the entire process to prevent redundant purchases, delayed installations, and other expensive capital blunders.

"Microsoft Office System provides a dramatic development shortcut for us," says Steven Fitzgerald, president of Haba ñ ero. "With Microsoft Office SharePoint Portal Server and Microsoft Office InfoPath, I'd say we have 50 to 60 percent less custom work. This is a huge saving for us and our customers. We can concentrate more on high-level planning and strategic thinking for our customers, because we're spending far less time on the heavy lifting of development."


For another customer, Haba ñ ero used Microsoft Office Word 2003 to revamp its publishing system. The organization can produce its printed reference books with greater speed and accuracy than before but also produce a variety of online products from the same development effort. "This company is expected to see a first-year 43 percent increase in revenue with the addition of the new online product line, with zero additional production effort," Fitzgerald says. "Their payback period will be just nine months."

New Partner Programs

Microsoft is investing approximately US$500 million to help make partners successful with Office System solution development. Over the last six months, Microsoft has sent Office System partner value kits and development kits to more than 50,000 partners (solution providers, system integrators, and independent software vendors). More than 16,000 partners have been through Office System training programs, with more signing up everyday. By the time the Office System launches this month, more than 700 Office System-based solutions will be built and brought to market, six times the number of solutions built in time for the launch of Microsoft Office XP in 2001. Never before have so many partners committed to delivering solutions so early in a product cycle.

In addition to the existing Microsoft Certified Partner Program and beta programs, Microsoft has launched a number of initiatives aimed at facilitating partner development of solutions around Microsoft Office System:

  • Microsoft Office Solution Accelerators. Microsoft is investing in an integrated set of software components, templates, and architectural guidance designed to solve a specific customer business problem across common organizational areas such as finance, human resources, sales and operations. The Office Solution Accelerators give partners a jump-start in developing Office System-based solutions and help customers more quickly realize value from their software investments. The first Accelerators will become available before year's end in conjunction with the launch of Office System products, and others will be released over the next twelve months.

  • Business Productivity Advisors. Microsoft has created 400 new field positions, called business productivity advisors, whose job it is to work closely with partners in creating Microsoft Office System-based solutions. These individuals visit customer accounts with partners and help with solution design. For partners, business productivity advisors are like having their own Microsoft consultant on staff to help speed solutions to market.

  • Microsoft Office System Solution Directory offers partners the opportunity to showcase solutions at no cost and provides customers and Microsoft field representatives around the world with information about customer-ready Microsoft Office-based enterprise business solutions that map to specific solution categories. More information can be found at http://microsoft.com/office/techinfo/solutions/ .

  • Office Marketplace. This is a new section of the Office Web site (at http://office.microsoft.com/marketplace ) designed to connect Office customers with products and services that enhance or extend an individual's ability to accomplish tasks with Office. Both the Office Marketplace and the Microsoft Office System Solution Directory provide tremendous exposure for small and medium-sized solution providers seeking to showcase their Office System solutions to a worldwide market. Their solutions are exposed to the 25 million visitors that come to www.microsoft.com each month.

  • Microsoft Office System Partner Solution Builder Program. This program helps partners in the United States and in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) drive new business opportunities through training, development support and marketing opportunities. Learn more at http://www.officesolutionbuilder.com/ (U.S.) and http://boss.microsoftemea.com/ (EMEA).

  • Microsoft Smart Client Readiness Program for ISVs. This launch pad is designed to provide ISVs with resources to build software products on Microsoft smart- client technologies, including Microsoft Office System and Pocket PCs. Details are available at http://members.microsoft.com/partner/isv/ . ISVs can visit this site to become a Microsoft industry partner, subscribe to the Microsoft Partners ISV Edition newsletter and learn about other resources such as the Microsoft Empower Program for ISVs. ISVs can visit this site to become a Microsoft industry partner, subscribe to the Microsoft Partners ISV Edition newsletter and learn about other resources such as the Microsoft Empower Program for ISVs.

At EDS, the Digital Work Environment team is finding great support in Microsoft Office System for several productivity-enhancing applications they're working on. One is the iDashboard project, a personalized HR application that allows employees to update their own performance objectives online as soon as they are completed. When managers sit down to create performance reviews each quarter, they can access each worker's up-to-date accomplishments without polling employees and reentering information. This system -- based on Microsoft Office System smart document technology and Microsoft Word, Excel and Outlook -- was created more quickly and cost-effectively thanks to Microsoft Office System.

"Microsoft Office System accelerates our development by at least 25 percent," says Laurel Mcelreath, director of Microsoft Enterprise Service at EDS. "By delivering and deploying solutions faster, we reduce the cost for our customers. Plus, we can reuse basic applications at multiple customer sites, which further extends our investment."

More Profit Opportunities for Partners

Since Microsoft Office is the world's most widely used content-creation suite, it presents an opportunity for industry partners to enter this growing market. Partners can use Microsoft Office System to increase profits by:

  • Expanding their customer base with new offerings

  • Entering new markets by capitalizing on the increased demand for standards-based business solutions

  • Reducing the cost of solution development by taking advantage of investments in the Microsoft infrastructure

  • Reducing customers' total ownership costs

  • Generating new revenue streams by expanding customer relationships, offering ongoing support and services, and performing ongoing application enhancements

At the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference, partners of all sizes echoed the refrain that Microsoft Office System helps them spend less time on the "plumbing" required to integrate desktop applications with back-end systems and more time delivering business value for their customers.

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