Immersing itself in the competitive e-commerce space, Microsoft last week launched a range of portals, platforms and partnerships to facilitate business online.
Microsoft's strategy is ambitious, aiming to reach the entire spectrum of businesses across various applications, from direct marketing and selling, to employee self-services and value chain trading.
According to Eugenio Beaufrand, managing director of Microsoft Australia and the South Pacific region: "Microsoft's e-commerce vision is to help businesses of all sizes quickly and cost effectively build Web sites, promote their products and services to qualified customers, and revolutionise trading relationships with partners."
To this end, Microsoft has devised its three-pronged platform, portal and industry partner policy, each section supported by "comprehensive technology, product and service offerings", according to Beaufrand.
Microsoft is planning to add three new software products and services to its existing commerce platform: Microsoft Commerce Server, which helps medium-to-large businesses build Web sites; Microsoft BizTalk Server, which improves data communications between businesses; and Small Business Commerce Services, which enables SMEs to build Web sites quickly.
An arrangement with ninemsn has also allowed Microsoft to develop its open marketplace strategy, where businesses take advantage of Australia's most frequented content destination's ability to tap into a large and diverse customer base through advertising, distribution and promotional opportunities. Microsoft and ninemsn believe that by using ninemsn to direct potential customers to relevant information, businesses will reach a much wider target audience for their particular e-commerce operation.
Additional partnerships have been forged with Com Tech Communications, PeopleSoft, WebCentral and Zivo, all of whom have been charged with the implementation of Microsoft's e-commerce initiatives in Australia. They will be responsible for the development of business-to-business and business-to-consumer e-commerce solutions.
Com Tech will implement Microsoft BackOffice solutions; PeopleSoft will develop its Business Network integration strategies based on Microsoft technology; WebCentral will act as Microsoft's e-commerce hosting services provider; and Zivo will combine its e-commerce consultancy and development skills with Microsoft to offer Internet and intranet solutions.