Microsoft Outlines Integration Plan

The software giant releases Content Management Server 2002 and announces its "Jupiter" integration and business process automation plan.

At its MEC 2002 conference in Anaheim, Calif., Tuesday, Microsoft Corp. announced a new server product that essentially segues the company into an integration provider role.

With the release of Content Management Server 2002, which gives business users the ability to publish directly from Word to a Web site and to federate content, as well as providing deep integration with Visual Studio .Net, the company also officially announced its plans for providing integration and business process automation functionalities.

Code-named Jupiter, the plan calls for the integration and componentization of Microsofts e-business servers.

Content Management Server will be integrated with Microsoft BizTalk Server and Commerce Server to enable users to leverage their inherent technologies, including Visual Studio .Net, Windows application server and Office.

Microsofts vision for Jupiter is essentially one of providing integration and business process automation in an overriding architecture.

The idea is that by componentizing its e-business products internally, Microsoft will be able to provide customers with a set of integration and business process automation tools that they can customize based on their needs.

There are four core design features for Jupiter. The first is giving users the ability to create and extend business processes in and outside their organizations.

The second theme is interoperability, or enabling companies to integrate third-party applications and platforms and provide support for Web services, so new applications built using XML will be easy to integrate.

The third theme is integration, providing a single set of workflow tools. And the fourth is componentization for flexibility in designing e-business platforms.

Jupiter is scheduled to be released in two phases, the first focused on business processes and integration and available in the second half of 2003.

The second phase will add commerce and content management functionality and will be released the first quarter of 2004.