Microsoft's vision for the future will empower enterprises to bring their business offerings and services to their customers through automation of business documents, integration of business partners, and integration of line of business and enterprise resource planning applications. In addition, the information you or your business need will be available wherever you are, using whatever computing device, platform, or application you have. This vision for the future will increase the agility of enterprises by improved interaction with customers and suppliers, faster response to changes in the business environment, increased profitability through improved relationship management with customers, partners, and employees.
Solving the problems associated with this vision is the key challenge for the next generation of computing and the Internet. At the heart of solving these problems is eXtensible Markup Language, or XML. Just as the Web revolutionized how users talk to applications, XML transforms how applications talk to each other.
With the help of XML-based technologies such as SOAP, a new type of software is being created that uses XML to provide Web-based services. Because XML Web services break down the distinctions between the Internet, standalone applications and computing devices of every kind, they enable businesses to collaborate to offer an unprecedented range of integrated and customized solutions. These solutions enable their customers to act on information any time, any place, and on any device.
As XML Web services gain momentum among developers as the next generation of Internet-based computing, providing a platform that makes it simpler to build these solutions and provide a reliable framework for integration and interoperability is vital. Such a platform must be based on open standards and combine all the power of personal computers, smart devices, legacy systems, and the richness of the Internet.
Microsoft s platform for building, deploying, operating and integrating XML Web services is .NET. As we have shown in this book, the .NET e-business servers are a vital part of Microsoft .NET, and can be used today to solve real business computing problems. In the future, many new features will be added to the current suite of e-business servers.
The e-business vision and Microsoft .NET will enable enterprises (small, medium and large) to bring products and services to market securely through the Internet, improving responsiveness and cost efficiency. Enterprises will be able to streamline operations by automating business processes within the enterprise and with external business partners. Enterprises will be able to provide one-stop access to information and services as well. Prepackaged solutions and accelerators will bring everything together to jump-start your e-business ventures.
With this anthology of e-business scenarios, we attempted to give enterprise customers a broad overview of these exciting new technologies with some details for implementing Microsoft's e-business products and services. Today, you can enable enterprise-scale e-business applications using current offerings. Tomorrow, the "better together" vision will augment Microsoft's powerful .NET platform, providing better, faster, more cost efficient ways to conduct business over the Internet. This is only the beginning.