The package of applications is designed to bring service architecting and business process building capabilities to small and medium-sized businesses.
Microsoft this September will offer Release 2 of BizTalk Server 2006 along with a package of other applications as a building block for service-oriented architecture.
The SOA and Business Process Pack will include, in addition to Microsoft's BizTalk connectivity server, Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007, Visual Studio Team System, SQL Server 2005, the .Net Framework, and four Office Business Applications Reference Packs. The package will be discounted 10% off regular prices, said Burley Kawasaki, director of Microsoft's Connected Systems Division.
Kawasaki said the package brings service architecting and business process building capabilities to small and medium-sized businesses that might have considered them beyond their technical capabilities or too expensive in the past.
The bundle "provides you the full infrastructure for an Office Business Application," or a business application that connects to users through the familiar Microsoft Office suite, Kawasaki said in an interview. In the past, Microsoft has urged its customers to consider Office as a starting point for new business process management systems. SharePoint weighs in as a collaborative portal for such applications, and word processing, spreadsheet, and database capabilities can be tied in as services through the reference packs.
The SOA bundle will also encourage members of Microsoft's Business Process Alliance, which includes 10 independent software vendors and 350 systems integrators since being established in February, to build Office Business Applications for their customers. Members include IDS Scheer, the business process consulting firm; Fair Isaac, the credit analysis and business rules system; InRule business rules capture system; and Metastorm and Global 360 business process management software suppliers.
Microsoft will also offer a lower priced, "Branch" edition of BizTalk Server for $1,800. It is aimed at linking branches, departments, or remote offices into an interconnected organization, Kawasaki said. Its pricing is meant to extend the reach of BizTalk to smaller units within a company to link them into the supply chain or for other purposes.
BizTalk Server 2006 Release 2 also will have improved EDI handling capabilities, integrating EDI connections into the BizTalk Server management console. It will also be able to integrate RFID data streams into other systems, Kawasaki said.
BizTalk has a customer base of 7,000 licenses, he added.
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