Consider the following two interactions:
It is also important to understand that suppliers and trading partners use different types of software for these interactions. Customers interact with buyer applications, also known as procurement applications, hosted by a trading partner. The trading partner might be the company that the customer works for, or it might be an electronic marketplace that specializes in hosting a buyer application. For more information about buyer applications, see the section "The Trading Partner's Buyer Application" later in this chapter. Note that Microsoft does not currently sell procurement applications for trading partners.
Suppliers require software that will interact with procurement applications, by providing electronic product catalogs to the procurement application and accepting purchase orders from the procurement application. Microsoft .NET Enterprise Servers, bound together with AFS, provide this software functionality.