The solution to Microsoft's existing EDI implementation involves migrating from GENTRAN to BizTalk Server. The figure shows the e-business infrastructure currently in use at Microsoft. The process starts when a Microsoft employee uses an application (MS Market, MS License, SAP, and others) to generate a business document such as a purchase order.
Microsoft's e-business infrastructure
The business application generates a file in one of three formats: tab-delimited, fixed field, or XML, and transfers the file to either a Microsoft Messaging Queue (MSMQ) or a shared folder. The file is then picked up by either the GENTRAN system or the BizTalk Server system depending on which is assigned to monitor the message queue or the shared folder. A GENTRAN or BizTalk Server processes the file and transmits it to a designated business partner.
GENTRAN is used to process EDI documents and transmit them to designated business partners over a value added network. BizTalk Server is used to process XML documents and transmit them to designated business partners via Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure sockets (HTTPS) over the Internet using BizTalk Framework 2.0 reliable messaging.
One solution to the problem discussed above is to transfer EDI documents from GENTRAN to BizTalk Server where they can be transmitted over the Internet. BizTalk Server can also convert EDI documents into XML documents.
An additional part of this solution is the custom applications that have been created to track and control the document transfer process, provide alert messages, and keep a historical database of all transactions.