Microsoft Launches BizTalk Server 2004 With New Tools for Best-of-Breed Integration and Business Process Management Solutions

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., March 2, 2004 — Microsoft Corp. today unveiled BizTalk® Server 2004, an industry-leading integration solution and a member of the Windows Server System (TM) . Applications built with BizTalk Server 2004 run on the Microsoft® .NET Framework, making it easier for customers to automate and manage complex business processes by integrating applications, trading partners and employees with BizTalk Server’s highly scalable process orchestration engine. BizTalk Server 2004 helps increase the productivity of information workers, IT professionals and developers with role-specific tools for developing, managing and accessing business processes in familiar environments such as the Microsoft Office System and Visual Studio®
.NET 2003. BizTalk Server 2004 was launched at the Silicon Valley Speaker Series.

“Today, enterprises face significant challenges in managing and automating increasingly disconnected business processes. BizTalk Server 2004 enables customers to manage and automate their business processes, while also giving users tools to design, deploy and monitor these processes in real time,” said Ted Kummert, corporate vice president of the E-Business Servers Group at Microsoft. “Our early adopters have seen rapid time to value from their BizTalk Server 2004 solutions, and we are excited about delivering these same results to more customers today.”

BizTalk Server 2004 Empowers Loss Prevention Managers at Virgin Megastores

Virgin Group, the world’s leading multichannel music and entertainment retailer, operates 23 Virgin Megastores in North America, as well as stores throughout Europe and Japan. Virgin Megastores looked to reduce inventory loss across its stores — a battle that costs the entire industry $30 billion a year. In an attempt to protect profits and decrease shrinkage from both employee and in-store theft, Virgin turned to Microsoft Certified Partner Xavor Corp. and BizTalk Server 2004 to develop an easy-to-use, real-time fraud-detection solution. The solution Xavor built for Virgin utilized BizTalk Server 2004, Microsoft SQL Server (TM) Analysis Services, Windows®
SharePoint (TM) Services and the Microsoft Office System. The result allowed Virgin’s business analysts at each retail store to uncover, analyze and react in real time to fraudulent activities.

“As a global company, we strive to protect our profits by decreasing losses from fraud and theft. Inventory shrinkage is a high-priority issue we must continuously find creative solutions to address,” said Steven Winningham, senior vice president of Operations and IT at Virgin Entertainment Group. “In just the first month, the new BizTalk Server 2004 loss prevention management solution has detected 50 percent more potential fraud cases than our previous solution and is much quicker. This is clear business value that Xavor and Microsoft BizTalk Server 2004 have delivered that has positively impacted our bottom line.”

New Features Orchestrate and Manage End-to-End Business Processes

In addition to the application integration capabilities found in previous versions, BizTalk Server 2004 delivers new capabilities to enable enterprises to more effectively manage and apply rules to business processes, connect to trading partners, and analyze the health of their business processes. The new functionality in BizTalk Server 2004 includes the following:

  • Business process management (BPM) provides a highly scalable messaging and orchestration engine with enterprise-class BPM capabilities, including support for Business Process Execution Language (BPEL), an emerging standard for linking business processes between trading partners, applications and business users.

  • Integration with Visual Studio .NET 2003 enables developers to build, orchestrate and manage business processes using a highly productive integrated development environment .

  • Health Activity Tracking ( HAT ) allows administrators to monitor and manage the health of their business processes within their BizTalk Server environments.

  • Enterprise single sign-on streamlines the sign-on verification process for Windows and non-Windows users accessing line-of-business applications.

  • Highly scalable business rule engine enables business analysts to create flexible and more-responsive rules and policies around business processes.

  • Business Activity Monitoring (BAM) provides information workers with real-time monitoring of business processes in familiar tools, such as Microsoft Office Excel or Microsoft Office SharePoint Portal Server 2003.

Integration With the Microsoft Office System Allows Analysis of Processes and Data

Enterprises have long wanted to link their back-end processes and data to their information workers and business analysts, enabling those workers to react to changes in their businesses in a more agile and accurate way. BizTalk Server’s integration with the Microsoft Office System allows business analysts to collaborate with developers in the design and deployment of business processes and to connect desktops to data from back-end systems. BizTalk Server includes integration with Microsoft Office Visio®
2003, Microsoft’s diagramming and data visualization tool that makes it possible for business analysts to collaborate with developers in the design and development of mission-critical business processes.

Using the business activity monitoring engine in BizTalk Server 2004, information workers can access data from business processes in real time from their desktop, allowing them to make decisions and react more quickly to changing business conditions. In addition, BizTalk Server can integrate directly with Microsoft Office InfoPath (TM) 2003, a new information-gathering program that offers rich, dynamic forms to more effectively share, reuse and repurpose information to streamline business processes. Integrating InfoPath with BizTalk Server enables information workers to connect real-time data, such as patient health data, with mission-critical back-end systems, such as patient health records. All editions of BizTalk Server 2004 include a copy of InfoPath 2003.

Broad Ecosystem of Enterprise Software and Services Companies Support BizTalk Server 2004

Over the past several years, Microsoft has worked extensively with leading enterprise software and services companies during BizTalk Server 2004’s development to ensure the product would be designed to work seamlessly and integrate with a wide collection of enterprise IT systems. As a result, BizTalk Server 2004 enjoys extensive industry support helping to extend the functional richness of BizTalk Server-based solutions. Independent software vendors continue to build adaptors for BizTalk Server, allowing customers to integrate with virtually any application or technology protocol on the market. Additionally, Microsoft did extensive training with more than 1,500 system integrator consultants to prepare them to deliver BizTalk Server 2004-based solutions to their customers.

“Organizations seeking to become high-performing businesses need to streamline and connect business processes and systems to get better access to information about their enterprise,” said David Plesko, partner and Enterprise Integration lead for Accenture. “Accenture is helping clients overcome this integration challenge through the use of BizTalk Server 2004. It helps us speed the delivery of new products and services while utilizing existing systems. By leveraging Microsoft BizTalk Server 2004 in our integration solutions, we can lower the total cost of ownership for the enterprise and give businesses greater clarity around the real-time data they need to make critical business decisions.”

More information about the BizTalk Server partner ecosystem is available at .

BizTalk Server Pricing and Availability

BizTalk Server 2004 has been released to manufacturing and will be generally available on April 1, 2004. Customers can download an evaluation copy of BizTalk Server 2004 today at , and developers with MSDN®
Universal subscriptions can download the Developer Edition at . BizTalk Server 2004 costs $24,999 per CPU for the Enterprise Edition, $7,000 per CPU for the Standard Edition and $999 for the Partner Edition. Microsoft will offer BizTalk Server 2004 in nine languages: English, French , German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Simplified Chinese, Spanish and Traditional Chinese. More information on how to buy BizTalk Server 2004 can be found at .

About BizTalk Server 2004

BizTalk Server 2004, part of Windows Server System, provides organizations with the core engine, development tools, adapters and vertical accelerators needed to integrate and automate their business. Using Extensible Markup Language (XML), Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP), and other core Internet transports and protocols, BizTalk Server unites enterprise application integration (EAI), business-to-business (B2B) and business process management technology in a single product to allow companies to easily orchestrate Web services and rapidly build dynamic business processes that span applications, platforms and businesses.

About Windows Server System

Microsoft Windows Server System is an integrated and interoperable server infrastructure that reduces IT complexity to enable IT professionals to deliver innovative solutions that meet the changing needs of business. With Windows Server (TM) 2003 at the foundation, Windows Server System is engineered from the ground up for XML Web services based on Microsoft

.NET technologies to connect information, people, systems and devices. Based on a common software architecture that spans all facets of IT from design, development and deployment through ongoing management and usage, Windows Server System provides comprehensive IT infrastructure for operations (security, systems management, networked storage), applications (data management and analysis, e-business) and information work (messaging, communications and collaboration). More information on Microsoft Windows Server System can be found at .

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software — any time, any place and on any device.

Microsoft, BizTalk, Windows Server System, Visual Studio, Windows, SharePoint, Visio, InfoPath, MSDN and Windows Server are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

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