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Fitting Commerce Server and Content Management Server Together

Because Commerce Server is the follow-on generation of Site Server 3.0, Microsoft realized from the experiences with that server component that the company definitely needed a stronger content management strategy in the form of a Content Management Server. The various approaches in Site Server 3.0 toward ODBC integration with third-party database applications including Oracle were limited in functionality. Adding to the database frustrations was the continually maturing state of SQL Server at the time. With SQL Server 2000 out, however, Microsoft seems to have gotten past the problems that plagued the first several versions of SQL Server during the last several years.

The goals Microsoft has for the Content Management Server are for the new platform to provide content distribution and delivery using the Commerce Server application framework for enabling communication, alert status by event, and analytics including channel and campaign management. What made nCompass a natural acquisition for Microsoft was that the content management company had been using the same basic development platform as Microsoft for creating the baseline applications of its Content Management Server. Since the acquisition, Microsoft has made the most of the nCompass products' automated content publishing, workflow analysis. and planning products. The .NET strategy gets even greater traction with content sharing and the reuse of tools by integrating them with the CommerceServer product catalog, profiling engine, transaction processing, shopping cart, and Business Desk application. The Business Desk acts as a console for tracking key metrics when both servers are running.

What's been demonstrated by the Content Management Server product teams include functionality in the following key areas:

  • Automated publishing and workflow for Web content

  • Centralized control of site design and usability for rich product catalogs

  • Quick and cost-effective deployment of content-driven sites

  • Delivery of targeted and personalized experiences to site users

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