MAPI-Based Workflow Specification Now Available

CHICAGO, April 1, 1996 — Microsoft Corp. and Wang Laboratories Inc. announced today the first public availability of the specification for the MAPI Workflow Framework (MAPI-WF). MAPI-WF provides a standards-based mechanism to allow production and messaging-based workflow systems to interoperate. It also extends MAPI, the Microsoft®
messaging API, to create a robust foundation for mail-based workflow solutions. The two companies plan to provide the first demonstration of interoperability using MAPI-WF at the Workflow Canada Conference in Toronto in June.

“The MAPI Workflow Framework will provide customers with a universal way to initiate, route and track workflow processes within messaging environments,”
said Paul Maritz, group vice president of the platforms group at Microsoft.
“Our work with Wang and others in the workflow community in defining interoperability significantly expands the value of workflow by making full use of a well-established standard – MAPI.”

“The availability of this specification allows customers to exploit the benefits of both production and messaging-based workflow in an integrated manner,”
said Bob Weiler, president of the software business unit at Wang.
“Standards such as MAPI-WF help provide the foundation for enterprise-capable work management.”

The MAPI Workflow Framework was originally presented at an Open Design Meeting at Microsoft in November and has undergone changes both as a result of feedback from ISVs and as a result of work to bring the specification in line with interoperability objectives of the Workflow Management Coalition (WFMC). The MAPI Workflow Framework has been proposed to the WFMC as an implementation of the yet-to-be-released WFMC Interface 4 interoperability specification. Following review and approval, MAPI-WF is expected to become the first available implementation of this WFMC standard, the publication of which is expected later this year.

The MAPI Workflow Framework is an extension to MAPI, a specification supported on millions of desktops today, including those that use Microsoft Exchange, Lotus®
and others. With MAPI-WF, a MAPI-compliant messaging system can be used to create and transport workflow items with a robust set of routing and tracking services, as well as exchange workitems with production systems that comply with the specification.

The framework includes the following key components:

  • A command message interface, a set of defined MAPI messages and properties used to build workflow items and request workflow services

  • A routing model, a means for defining workflow routing

  • An OLE/COM interface, an object-oriented programming interface for creating workflow-enabled applications

Wang will provide support for interoperability using the specification in a future release of its OPEN/workflow production work management system for the Windows NT®
operating system.

A Significant Result of the Wang and Microsoft Alliance

The work between Microsoft and Wang is a significant result of the broad alliance between Wang and Microsoft announced in April 1995. This alliance will bring improved document imaging and work-management capabilities to users of the Windows®
95 and
Windows NT operating systems. As part of the alliance, Wang was designated Microsoft’s preferred workflow and imaging vendor and is working closely with Microsoft to help define the MAPI Workflow Framework for enabling interoperability between product and messaging systems such as Microsoft Exchange.

About Wang

Wang Laboratories Inc. is a recognized leader in workflow, integrated imaging, document management and network storage management for client/server open systems and a major worldwide provider of integration and support services for office software and networks.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (NASDAQ
) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.

Microsoft, Windows NT and Windows are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

Lotus is a registered trademark of Lotus Development Corp.

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