Microsoft is launching a public preview of a new business service under the code name Project 'Madeira'. The new service offers small and mid-sized businesses a new management solution that includes support for Office 365 apps.

Here's what Microsoft says are the main features of Project 'Madeira':

  • A new level of productivity – Project "Madeira" reduces time wasted switching back and forth between business applications and email. It automatically identifies business context such as invoices and quote requests within Outlook, and presents the user with the tools and data needed to take immediate action – all without leaving Outlook. If you know how to use Office, then you know how to use Project "Madeira."
  • Cloud first – Project "Madeira" is designed from the ground up as a true multi-tenant public cloud service on Microsoft Azure, meaning SMBs can get up and running quickly, manage costs and rest assured knowing their data is more protected in hyper-scale, enterprise-class datacenters.
  • Mobile first – Project "Madeira" is built for a mobile workforce, with a consistently great user experience across almost any device or form factor. Customers can access the service through a Web browser, or using apps for Windows, iOS or Android devices.
  • Built for growth – Project "Madeira" is a comprehensive business management solution for growing companies with roughly 10 to 100 employees. These are companies that need more than the simple financial and accounting tools they started with, but aren't yet ready to make a big investment in a customized enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. Without sacrificing ease of use or speed of setup, Project "Madeira" offers a fully powered business management solution in the cloud, with capabilities spanning financials, dimensions, sales and purchase management, inventory, CRM (opportunity management), multi-currency, and business insight. In addition, Microsoft's ecosystem of independent software vendors are building rich extensions for Project "Madeira." These extensions cover horizontal add-on functionality as well as full industry-specific vertical solutions. They will be available in a marketplace soon.

Microsoft says the public preview will continue for the next several months while it takes a look at feedback from its users. There's no word on how much Microsoft might charge for the service once it officially launches.

Thanks to Stephen for the tip!

Download Project 'Madeira' from the Windows Store

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