Microsoft boosts HR capabilities in business portal

Microsoft Corp. pushed out a new release of its business portal software that aims to deliver new self-service features for employees and help companies dynamically adjust to changing conditions by using key performance indicators.

On Monday, the company’s Fargo, N.D.-based Microsoft Business Solutions unit announced that it was shipping the Microsoft Business Solutions Business Portal Version 1.2, which will work with its Great Plains and Solomon enterprise resource planning application suites. Microsoft said improvements that have been made to the product will deliver business intelligence capabilities to users throughout a company and help support collaborative processes.

The Portal 1.2 has a new human resources management self-service suite, as well as a key-performance-indicators module. The new five-module human resources management suite will let employees review personnel and payroll information. By offering employees a common set of repeatable processes for activities such as filling out time cards, submitting requests for time off, updating their profiles or reviewing salary and benefits information, the service will save human resources administrators time and boost their productivity, Microsoft said.

The new key-performance-indicators module is designed to let executives quickly get updates to relevant business metrics in graph or chart format, which could help them make decisions faster. Executives can also do drill-down operations for analysis, Microsoft said.

Additionally, users will be able to use the portal to distribute business or financial reports written in the Microsoft FRx application.

Prior to this, the systems needed to deliver centralized, browser-based access to employee processes and key information for decision-making were so complex and expensive that only the largest businesses could afford them, said Karen Engel, group product manager at Microsoft Business Solutions, in a statement.

Pricing for Microsoft Business Portal 1.2 starts at US$45 per user. The key-performance-indicators module starts at US$3,000; the human resources management self-service suite modules, which will work exclusively with the Great Plains lineup, start at US$500 each.