Microsoft’s new Web Services Strategy

The focus is on business processes and collaboration, writes Information Week: “Microsoft’s web-services strategy is shifting to the more strategic, and tougher, set of problems involving business processes. Products in development, described for the first time last week, aim not only to connect employees and companywide operations but also to improve collaboration and maybe even reinvent processes.”

Here’s a glimpse of the future:

In Microsoft’s future architecture, companies will use Web services to simplify workflows, let employees sift through business data using familiar desktop apps, and establish business-to-business hookups. Solutia Inc., a $2.8 billion-a-year manufacturer of carpet fiber and specialty chemicals, is testing XDocs as a way of extending the benefits of XML to small suppliers that aren’t investing in it themselves. “Not everyone we deal with is a huge company,” says Art Huggard, director of digital strategy.

With XDocs, Solutia can create order forms that store each field’s entries in XML format. “You have an interface that looks a lot like what they’re used to,” Huggard says. Suppliers complete the forms and send them back via E-mail, where a BizTalk server grabs the data and sends it to SAP.

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.