Microsoft opens portal to business apps

Microsoft Corp.'s Business Solutions division has introduced an enterprise portal which opens onto its Great Plains and Solomon business applications. Using Microsoft Business Portal, employees can access business information held in those applications from their Web browsers, Microsoft said Wednesday.

The portal can use Microsoft's .Net security framework to limit access to business information according to a role-based model so sales staff, for example, can enter and review order information from Web browsers, while managers can review summary reports online, the company said. The software includes predefined sets of roles, information and business processes, but these can be changed or others added.

Windows Terminal Server can also be used to access applications through the portal, Microsoft said.

Microsoft Business Portal is now available through resellers in the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Microsoft plans to release the software in the Middle East, Africa, Asia-Pacific and the U.K. by October. No plans to release the software elsewhere in Europe were announced.

Licenses for Microsoft Business Portal cost between US$45 and US$65 per user, depending on the size of the installation, it said. Support for the portal is available to customers with a current support contract for the company's Great Plains software version 7.0 or higher, or version 5.0 or higher of its Solomon software.

Additional portal modules can also be purchased. Microsoft cited the example of the Human Resource Management Self Service Suite, which it plans to introduce around the middle of the year for US$5,000 for the suite or between US$500 and US$2,500 per module.

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