Microsoft unveils package for corporate intranets

Looking to offer customers a short cut to return on investment for portal deployments, Microsoft Corp. on Tuesday rolled out its Microsoft Solution for Intranets, which ties together existing portal, collaboration, and streaming media technologies into an integrated offering for departmental workspaces.

The economic slowdown has forced customers to adopt more of a solution-focused approach to collaboration, information-sharing, and portal technology deployments, said Jeff Teper, general manger at Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft.

“[Microsoft Solution for Intranets] is not just providing basic plumbing for those services but tying them together into a solution, providing the application, documentation, support, and partners for a more comprehensive solution,” Teper said.

Microsoft Solution for Intranets includes step-by-step instructions and best practice information, services, and support for building an intranet portal with SharePoint Portal Server, SharePoint Team Services, Office XP, SQL Server, Windows 2000, and Windows Media.

SharePoint Portal Server acts as one of the primary hubs of the solution, enabling the creation of a customized knowledge workplace from which to facilitate centralized information management and discovery, Microsoft officials said. The inclusion of Windows Media allows corporations to deliver real-time or on-demand broadcasts to individual employee desktops, which can reduce travel and training expenses, according to Microsoft officials.

The integrated offering of products and services is designed to reduce the cost and complexity of deploying and integrating a departmental portal workspace, according to Microsoft officials.

“By integrating the products together with a prescriptive architecture guide, with detailed deployment instructions, people can get up and running more quickly with less cost and less risk,” Teper said. “A big part of the cost and risk, which is in integration as opposed to the standalone products, will be reduced significantly.”

Moreover, enterprises will realize an immediate return as improved collaboration enables a more efficient workforce, Teper added.

Four systems integrators, Cap Gemini Ernst and Young LLP, Hewlett-Packard Co., Compaq Computer Corp., and Avanade Inc. have signed on to build dedicated services around the Microsoft Solution for Intranets.

Microsoft will continue to push packaged solutions for portal technology with a forthcoming offering aimed at e-commerce. The Internet-focused application will be built around Commerce Server, aimed at supporting business transactions on the Internet.