Microsoft and Friends Tout .Net, BizTalk As BPM Foundation


If you're building business process management (BPM) for customers, Microsoft wants to make sure you're doing so atop its .Net foundations and factor in BizTalk.

To hasten the process, the company today launched the Microsoft Business Process Alliance at a Gartner Business Process Management Summit in San Diego.

And, it trotted out partners who've signed on including AmberPoint, Ascentn, IDS Scheer, Fair Isaac, Global 360, InRule, Metastorm, and SourceCode Technology.

Noticeably absent are other big applications and middleware players like say, Oracle. Or SAP. Or IBM.

Asked if those players were invited, Microsoft's Steve Martin said "We would consider folks like Oracle, SAP, and IBM competitors, but some of the folks we partner with also partner with them and that's fine."

Martin is director of product management for Microsoft's Connected Systems Group (aka Biztalk).

IDS Scheer, a big-time SAP partner is aboard because BPM must work across technologies and stacks, an executive there said.

"We've talked about open BPM for quite some time. We started with SAP and laast year announced Oracle and Microsoft now not only continues that strategy but adds a few dimensions," said Kapi Attawar, vice president of strategic technology alliances for IDS Scheer.

SAP, by the way, has endorsed both .Net and Java technology stacks and works with Microsoft on NetWeaver-.Net interoperability. The two companies, who increasingly compete in mid-market ERP, have also agreed to forge between Office and back-office applications.

The very nature of business process management, as with SOA and Web Services, is predicated that there must be linkage between unlike systems, services and applications for anything to work right.

The fact is that many IDS Scheer customers work on Microsoft technology already and "we think this is an opportunity to embrace that community," Attawar noted. "Microsoft can also connect at both the middleware and desktop layers and that is important if you look at BPM as the operating system that connects the business with the applications."

Microsoft's Martin maintains that this newly formed group more than slide ware. "This is not a loose confederation of companies. We've established criteria for the adoption of .Net, the integration of BizTalk to make it easy to deploy solutions that eliminate cost and complexity. We're partnering them on .Net and the adoption of .Net and connectivity to BizTalk is a requirement," Martin said.

Microsoft also said it would add support for BPEL (Business Process Execution Language) 2.0 into its core Windows Workflow Foundation (WF) over time. WF used to go under the Windows Orchestration or WinOE moniker.

A CTP for BPEL 1.1 support in WFis due within weeks, and 2.0 support is anticipated by year's end, pending ratification of the spec, a Microsoft spokesman said. In the short term, there will be a BizTalk adapter for BPEL 1.1 (then 2.0) and beyond that BPEL support will be built right into BizTalk. BizTalk Server 2006 R2 is due in the third quarter.

BizTalk Server is the linchpin for microsofts Enterprise Application Integration (EAI) play.

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