Post about "E-Commerce"

BizTalk and the E-Commerce Revolution

The growing use of IT solutions for managing businesses has allowed companies to improve their operations, simplify their procedures and to provide overall better services to their customers and partners.

With the use of many systems however, the problem of communication and data sharing has come to the attention of businesses. It is important for the information systems to be efficient as well as secure, that data saved and shared in different formats should be exchanged seamlessly between B2B from within the data center or in the cloud.

This problem is particularly important when thinking of e-commerce systems and how it fosters application integration and promotes strategic business initiatives with trading partners over the Web.

Electronic commerce has been revolutionizing the business world by transforming how companies:

  1. Carry out processes
  2. Exchange data over the Net
  3. Make real-time decisions and reporting
  4. How companies and the public at large buy and sell goods online
  5. Process payments

The future of e-Commerce apparently lies with the necessity to set up an online marketplace and enable use of B2C online shopping to help grow a business, but also to simplify and drive more sales.

Presently, the e-commerce presence continues to expand. Shopping online, in fact, has been a customer’s favorite for its ease and immediacy. The means of e-Commerce shopping allows consumers to choose, compare prices and decide what to buy in the privacy and convenience of their own house or while on the go through their mobile devices.

E-commerce requires the integration of different systems that need to work together: the inventory application, the e-commerce clients’ interface, the shipping and suppliers module are all elements that need to work together in order for each transaction to be carried forward seamlessly. Moreover, the data exchange needs to be effectively carried forward regardless of the different formats in which info is saved and manipulated.

The job of providing a common ground for all systems is done by specific software. Microsoft offers one of these solutions through the BizTalk suite that comprises of a series of applications that makes communication between disparate systems possible.

BizTalk uses Extensible Markup Language (XML) as its common data exchange language, which can be used to implement e-commerce. The suite is able to integrate different systems and allow seamless communication between business partners (suppliers, retailers, shippers, etc… ).

Microsoft BizTalk Server’s main feature includes a simple installation, comprehensive support for managing the e-commerce applications and better ways to allow BAM (Business Activity Monitoring).

Consulting companies can help in the implementation of systems for BizTalk and can advise on how best to use its functionalities to improve business operations.

An example of a business that had a successful implementation of a BizTalk solution was Author Solutions, Inc. (ASI), an e-commerce firm who specializes in services for self-publishing authors.

As ASI’s services include publishing, marketing and selling books, it was important that all different sectors of the business were fully integrated and communicating. The solution that was recommended an ultimately implemented used a combination of Microsoft Commerce Server 2007 and Microsoft BizTalk Server 2006 R2.

These two key technology solutions allowed ASI to build an integrated platform that was able to connect in the best way all of their departments, from the office in charge of promotion to the content management section and the sales department.

With the new systems, ASI’s portal was connected to the e-Commerce front-end system allowing their users access to a variety of information and reports related to their account and the e-Commerce sales. BizTalk adapters allowed them to also import, query and export product items. Even product catalogs were able to be updated in real time, which is essential for both sales staff and clients. In addition, this Microsoft software framework added secure integration and Web services integration layer platform to advance its business conditions.

The e-commerce revolution is definitely going to have a lasting impact for many industries to come where they will rely on BizTalk and Commerce Server to achieve their business goals.

Although this transformational period is in full swing and still creating a buzz, it wouldn’t be possible without software solutions that allow companies to fully exploit the capabilities of their information systems. BizTalk is such a solution to implement a new CRM solution – the integration of this suite with existing information systems is paramount for allowing businesses to grow and provide better services to their customers.