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Microsoft updates Solomon; CRM software still in the works

Jun 02, 20032 mins
Enterprise ApplicationsMicrosoft

A new version of Microsoft’s Solomon suite of enterprise applications announced last week lets customers better integrate with other Microsoft products and easily manage project administration.

A new version of Microsoft‘s Solomon suite of enterprise applications announced last week lets customers better integrate with other Microsoft products and easily manage project administration.

Solomon 5.5 includes Microsoft’s newly developed Professional Services Automation package, announced in September. The software works in conjunction with Microsoft Project 2002, and enables tracking of various aspects of ongoing projects, including budgets, billing and staffing.

The new version of Solomon, which Microsoft describes as a fine-tuning release, includes changes to four of Solomon’s 10 series, which are bundles of modules for handling various corporate operations.

Solomon’s Financial Series now includes updated time-entry screens and features, letting multiple checks per employee, per pay period, be printed. The Project Series and Service Series feature additional modules and easy-of-use enhancements, and Solomon’s core Foundation Series includes extended report management capabilities.

Also added globally to Solomon is a new Smart Tag Manager that links Solomon with Microsoft’s Office XP suite. Users now can connect across the applications information on customers, vendors, inventories and employees, Microsoft says.

Solomon is a product of Microsoft’s Business Solutions unit, which also created the company’s Microsoft CRM software. In pitching Microsoft CRM, Microsoft emphasizes the software’s planned integration with other Business Solutions products, including Solomon. However, five months after Microsoft CRM’s release, that integration remains under development. No timeline is available for when that work will be finished, according to a Microsoft spokeswoman.

Solomon 5.5 is available in the U.S. through Microsoft Business Solutions resellers. Versions customized for users in other countries will be released throughout the next year, Microsoft says. Costs vary for Solomon 5.5, but Microsoft estimates the starting cost of a typical, three-user financial version of the software at $12,700.

Microsoft also has released a basic version of Solomon – Solomon Standard – aimed at smaller companies. Solomon Standard’s target audience is organizations with 25 to 99 employees, annual revenue of up to $25 million and up to 10 licensed users, according to Microsoft. A typical single-user license costs $4,900, the company says.

Cowley is a correspondent with the IDG News Service’s New York bureau.