Microsoft BizTalk Server

Our certified consultants have years of experience with BizTalk Server across many different verticals. From architecting solutions and developing components to supporting some of the largest and smallest implementations we like to think we've done it all. Clearly we haven't, but we do feel that we have the experience to tackle all of those integration challenges.

what is biztalk server?

Wikipedia's page for BizTalk begins with:

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Microsoft BizTalk Server, often referred to as simply "BizTalk", is an Enterprise Service Bus. Through the use of "adapters" which are tailored to communicate with different software systems used in an enterprise, it enables companies to automate business processes. Offered by Microsoft, it provides the following functions: Enterprise Application Integration, Business Process Automation, Business-to-business Communication, Message broker, and Business Activity Monitoring. Recently the BizTalk Server is repositioned not only as the Application Integration Server but also as the Application Server.

Microsoft's definition:

BizTalk Server is Microsoft’s Integration and connectivity server solution. A mature product on its seventh release, BizTalk Server 2010 provides a solution that allows organizations to more easily connect disparate systems. Including over 25 multi-platform adapters and a robust messaging infrastructure, BizTalk Server provides connectivity between core systems both inside and outside your organization. In addition to integration functionality, BizTalk also provides strong durable messaging, a rules engine, EDI connectivity, Business Activity Monitoring (BAM), RFID capabilities and IBM Host/Mainframe connectivity.

Simply put BizTalk enables you to connect stuff. Whether it be systems, businesses, departments, devices or markets, BizTalk facilitates and simplifies the integration point between all these entities. Leveraging standards and providing out of the box adapters, BizTalk is able to simplify the communication between these often disparate endpoints. 

BizTalk provides the framework and tools to get your business communicating. It does so in a scalable and reliable way whilst providing the structure to ensure your organizations reputation is not at risk.

Can't I build this myself?

Yes you could, but think beyond the hello world example that everyone has seen, integration is more than moving XML files between folders. Could you code a solution that enabled you to support many different protocols and endpoints and easily switch between them? Maybe and perhaps you don't need to support all those protocols anyway. Would your solution guarantee delivery? Would it provide the means to monitor and track messages even down to individual data points? Can you offer a realtime portal into your messaging engine? Would it scale? Will it be well documented?

Our point is if your integration scenario involves moving one file a day between to UNC shares then you probably don't need BizTalk. If you have to do that for tens of different message formats, thousands of times a day maybe BizTalk could help make that a little easier.

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Why do we need your help?

Our experience extends back to the release of BizTalk Server 2004. Since then we have worked in a number of verticals from telecommunications, insurance to finance. They all have offered a unique blend of challenges from integrating complex telephone switches to high performance order routing systems. 

We learnt very quickly that integration can be very intricate and challenging. Integration typically involves extremely disparate systems, far beyond the simplified examples found on software vendors’ websites.

Variations between implementations of the same software can lead to a different set of challenges between projects involving the same platforms. Impacted by business need, budgets, resources availability and even personal whims of system architects results in no two integration projects being the same.

We mention these challenges to highlight that integration specialist’s are required to be problem solvers that cannot be afraid to delve beyond their platform of expertise. Understanding BizTalk is half the battle, having the desire and aptitude to become a temporary expert on a third party or custom application is critical. The experience to troubleshoot bizarre issues that occur when integrating applications from incongruent vendors and developers is equally crucial.

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Technical skills are obviously important, however successful integration specialists must also be able to liaise with the teams behind the disparate systems. This can sometimes be the most challenging. To temporarily enter a site and have to navigate a myriad of personal and inter-team relationships is a very important aspect to a successful engagement.

Our record of successful implementations is testimony to our effectiveness as integration specialists and demonstrates the value that we can add. It reveals that the above description accurately ascertains to our strengths and hopefully prompts you to consider us further.