Microsoft extends BizTalk reach

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Microsoft extends BizTalk reach

Microsoft is attempting to reach beyond the narrow confines of company networks with the release of BizTalk Server 2006 R2 this week.

The business process management (BPM) program includes deeper support for RFID, EDI and vertical industry standards in an upgrade aimed at extending capabilities to satellite offices, corporate supply chains and business partner networks.

R2 is available with a Branch Edition version that allows firms to set up their own hub-and-spoke architectures and the verticals are covered by support for standards such as Swift in financial services, HIPAA in healthcare and RosettaNet in electronic trading.

Microsoft has also published its Enterprise Service Bus Guidance with best-practice views on how to deploy service-oriented architectures, and released Adapter Pack Beta 2 for testing today, to help customers make point-to-point connections with other applications. When fully available, the pack will be folded into R2.

“It’s all about extending the connected enterprise so that you avoid the problem of not having visibility of your product when something goes wrong in the plant floor of your partner,” said Burley Kawasaki, a director in Microsoft’s Connected Systems Division.

“We’re trying to show that BPM doesn’t have to be expensive or hard to use. It’s been available at great cost and with great complexity for years and we’re trying to make it scale for the mainstream.”

Ken Vollmer of Forrester Research said, “BizTalk is a strong player in the integration-centric BPM suites space, but less so in the human-centric BPM space [characterised by complex human interactionsl] where it relies on partners like Global360, Metastorm and IDS Scheer to augment base capabilities. Microsoft's size is an asset, particularly in the integration-centric BPM market. BizTalk already has a large base of customers that can use the additional BPM capability that the vendor provides.”

The new release will mean that BizTalk users gain from reduced dependence on Microsoft partners for EDI and RFID capabilities, other analysts said. @ 2010 Incisive Media

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