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Session D-BIZT

Microsoft BizTalk Server 2000

Markus Egger
EPS Software Corp.


Introduction

Business To Business (B2B) communication is as old as business itself. Most trades depend heavily on either a substantial number of vendors, a solid customer base of other businesses, or both. However, when we consider the Internet hype and activities over the last few years, we realize that B2B has not played a significant role. So far, the Internet is used as a (free) resource for news and stock quotes and more recently, as a Business-To-Customer business platform. In this kind of a scenario, businesses take a unified approach toward their customers, typically by providing a virtual storefront that is navigated using a web browser. This represents a semi-automated scenario. While the processing on the business end of the relationship is fully automated, the customer side represents exactly the opposite. The shopper clicks through a number of pages, adds items to a shopping cart, and finally checks out by typing in a credit card number and waits for approval. A cumbersome process if large quantities of the same goods are ordered frequently as businesses would.

But all this is about to change!

ďBusiness-To-BusinessĒ communication is the latest buzzword in the industry, and it makes a lot of sense. Rather than manually negotiating a web store, a simple automated message is sent to the vendor, indication what kind of business transaction is to take place. Typically, the transport mechanism for the message is XML. The process is typically very tightly integrated at both ends of the relationship, resulting in a highly efficient way of doing business.

None of this is really new, but technologies such as XML and the Internet enable us to perform the process in a cheaper and more straightforward way. The cost of implementation as well as the cost of single transactions have been the main killers of non-XML and non-Internet based B2B systems. There is a lot that could be said about existing standards, but that is an entirely different subject all together. In this paper, I will focus on Microsoft BizTalk Server and the standards that go along with it.

Microsoft BizTalk Server

Microsoft BizTalk Server 2000 is one of the technologies that make B2B happen. Generally speaking, BizTalk Server is a routing service that receives and routes B2B messages in a very efficient and flexible way, allowing business relationships to be set up with a large number of partnering organizations who may all be using different standards.

Basic Concepts

Letís have a closer look at the technologies and components required to make the above claim come true. Most BizTalk features are administered through the BizTalk Management Desk:

Note that Iím using Beta 1 of Microsoft BizTalk Server 2000 as I write these lines, so the final version may look very different from the screen shots shown in this white paper.

The Management Desk can be seen as the BizTalk Control Center. It is used to set up organizations, agreements, document formats, mapping and routing information, and so forth. But before we can discuss the advanced management possibilities, we need to learn more about the basic items that are managed in the BizTalk Management Desk.

Organizations

Organizations are the corner stones of all BizTalk scenarios. After all, this is what BizTalk is all about: Communication between multiple organizations. Organizations simply are business partners. There always is a Home Organization (thatís you) and at least one other organization the home organization does business with. In the examples Iím using throughout this white paper, Iím describing the business relationships between EPS Software Corp. and business partners such as West Wind Technologies. All of these are separate organizations.

Setting up Organizations is easy. You can create a new organization through the File/ New menu. An organization typically has little more than a name that identifies it. Hereís the definition for West Wind Technologies:

For all of the examples in this document, specifying an Organization name is going to be sufficient to identify the party. However, you can specify as many additional identifiers as you want. You can chose between standard identifiers such as DUNS numbers (Dun & Bradstreet), or you can set up custom identifiers:

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