Microsoft HRM On Tap?

Microsoft HRM On Tap?

Mary Jo Foley

Now that MS CRM is out the door, could a global,.Net-based MS HRM system be next?

Microsoft plans to demonstrate at its upcoming Great Plains Convergence user conference in March its “Business Portal HRM Self Service Suite.”

“Business Portal HRM Self Service Suite offers employee and manager self-service solutions that place employees and managers in control of their own human-resources information,” explains Microsoft on its Convergence conference site. “Employees and managers can access their human-resources information on their own at any time, decreasing administrative costs and allowing human resource professionals to take a more substantive role in the organization.”

Microsoft’s Business Portal — the product formerly known as “Business Desk” — is a Great Plains invention that is due to debut some time in the first calendar quarter, if Microsoft is still on schedule.

While the Business Portal is not based on Microsoft’s SharePoint Portal Server, it is designed to provide the same kind of functionality. Administrators will be able to set up the Business Portal to provide employees with Web-based access to their applications, which will be viewable via a single dashboard-type interface.

Microsoft has said the Business Portal will be the first product from the Business Solutions Division that will make use of the Microsoft Business Framework (MBF) technology.

MBF is a set of classes, runtimes and development tools that sit on top of the Microsoft .Net Framework. MBF is the “shared horizontal business application logic” that will be common to Microsoft’s current and future CRM, SCM, employee-relationship management (ERM) and business-analytic apps from Microsoft’s Business Solutions division.

A Microsoft spokeswoman confirmed that the company will be providing live demonstrations of Business Portal at the show, but said she wasn’t sure of the status of the HRM suite.

Microsoft is hardly the only bigwig eyeing the potential market for HRM systems for small to mid-size business customers. Microsoft Business Solutions’ archrival Intuit is also captivated by the HRM space.

Steven Aldrich, general manager of new market development for Intuit, says Intuit is “very interested in what we call the ’employee management space.'” Aldrich added that “the HR and benefits space is mission-critical and untapped and will continue to be an area where we intend to expand our offerings.”

Copyright © 2004 Ziff Davis Media Inc. All Rights Reserved. Originally appearing in Microsoft Watch.