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Righting the Wrongs of Site Server with Commerce Server 2000

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Call Site Server the learning experience that lead to the development of Commerce Server 2000, which is much more attuned to what companies really need when creating an online sales strategy. This article compares the hands-on experiences of each to manage a site.
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What's immediately apparent between Site Server and Commerce Server 2000 is that instead of using Wizards to create sites in Site Server, Commerce Server 2000 provides a series of solution sites that can be modified to reflect what you want on your site. The Wizards in Site Server were at times difficult to use, as they would crash if they did not find the correct component or worse yet, provide a result that was totally unexpected. Further, the pipeline features of Site Server were good only for a series of simple transactions at a time. In short, Site Server looks today like a very early beta of what should have been Commerce Server 2000 all along.

Consoles for Analytics

In Site Server when you build a site and try to track what's going on, you often have to layer analytics tools on top of it, even creating your own if the key performance indicators you want are not tracked by any other tools. Site Server further had no true measures of sales velocities, which are critical in many low-margin businesses that are looking to the Internet for greater sales. The development of consoles or Desktop Managers has since been ubiquitous throughout the industry with many companies providing them including Mercury Interactive, InterWorld, Blue Martini and others. Its no surprise Microsoft would bring this feature into Commerce Server 2000 in the form of Business Desk.

Commerce Server 2000 Business Desk feature is one of the most useful tools in the entire server package. This Desktop provides the ability to do online campaign management and drive personalization options depending on what customers' request in the way of information. Designed to ease administration, Business Desk is a browser-based management console. From it, managers can manipulate information in the categories of User, Order, Campaign, Catalog, Auction, and Analysis. Business Desk comes with a tutorial and includes reporting capabilities, with over 19 reports that analyze a site and its traffic. It gives you control of marketing campaigns, letting you create promotions and even targeted direct-mail campaigns.

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