Microsoft Updates Small Business Manager


Microsoft Business Solutions Group has shipped a new version of Small Business Manager with new inventory and order-processing capabilities.

Small Business Manager 7.0, which builds on the latest Great Plains eEnterprise and Dynamics code base, targets companies with less than $5 million in revenue that typically employ about 25 people, said Karen Engel, lead product manager at Microsoft. Great Plains' eEnterprise and Dynamics accounting software packages are now key players in the Microsoft Business Solutions product portfolio.

"The upside for small-business managers is added functionality for managing inventory and purchase order processing," Engel said.

Small companies tend to want a management suite that includes all these features or modules rather than a collection of software packages, she said. Small Business Manager, which has been available for about a year, competes with Intuit's Quickbooks Enterprise Edition and Best Software's BusinessWorks.

The single-user version is priced starting at $995. The retail, multiuser version starts at $2,495. The payroll capability carries an additional $500 flat-charge for any number of users.

Solution providers said the product offers a good entry point into small-business accounts.

"This product matches up with a lot of small businesses. From a partner standpoint, it has a price point that's more attractive [for this market. Some of the Great Plains/Microsoft Business Solutions prices are a little steep. We need something to start with, a Dynamics Lite," said Wayne Viener, CEO of Groupfive, a Rockville, Md.-based solution provider.