Microsoft's .net solution to cut B2B costs

Microsoft has released a .net package designed to allow companies to connect to any partner's business-to-business (B2B) systems...

Microsoft has released a .net package designed to allow companies to connect to any partner's business-to-business (B2B) systems in a more cost-effective way, writes Daniel Thomas.

The Microsoft Solution for Supplier Enablement, which combines the company's SQL Server, Commerce Server and Biztalk Server, is aimed at companies using various channels to sell products to partners, including B2B marketplaces, procurement systems and direct Web sites.

The release is part of Microsoft's overall strategy, centred on the .net platform, of moving from being a supplier of standalone products to providing software as a service over the Web. The software giant sees Web services as the best way to increase revenue in the future and is keen for more companies to conduct business over the Internet.

"This solution provides a compelling new choice for B2B selling broader set of suppliers are now able to realise the benefits of conducting business electronically," said a Microsoft spokesman.

The software can build on any existing Microsoft infrastructure thus reducing integration costs and speeding up return on investment, the company claimed. Using their existing infrastructure, businesses can provide catalogues to a number of different potential buyers, without being locked in to proprietary systems, Microsoft said, adding that the software could be tailored to an organisation's specific needs.

SQL Server provides the database anchor of the package, contributing native XML support, a data store and an online analytical processing engine. Commerce Server adds XML-based catalogue, order processing, Web site and personalisation capabilities, while Biztalk will handle XML delivery, business processes and mapping and transformation.

In addition, BizTalk will allow the software to access data in other systems, such as ERP and CRM applications, Microsoft said.

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