Microsoft, Avinon forge Web services partnership

Microsoft and Avinon on Wednesday will announce a partnership to offer a solution for creating Web services at InfoWorld's Next Generation Web services Conference.

The joint marketing, development, and sales agreement is designed to help enterprises create customer-facing Web services. The solution combines Avinon's NetScenario Service Center, Business Server, and Studio products with Microsoft technology such as SharePoint Portal Server, SQL Server, Windows 2000, Visual Studio, and BizTalk Server.

The combined solution enables customers to build what Avinon calls a portal-based "self-service lifecycle" from product or services configuration and support to marketing and promotions, according to David Ruiz, San Francisco-based Avinon's vice president of marketing.

"Avinon gives Microsoft the ability to raise up the conversation to the solution level," said Steve Christianson, a .Net program manager at Microsoft, in Redmond, Wash.

Avinon officials describe the company as a business service management software provider. The NetScenario platform and tool enable business manager and analyst-level types to visually create Web services, they added.

The companies said they are initially targeting financial services, manufacturing, healthcare, and telecommunications.

A financial services firm, for instance, could use the solution to create Web services for account enrollment, inquiry, and change request procedures.

"The solution will help make .Net actionable, so people can get to market with Web services," said Larry Hawes, an analyst at Boston-based consultancy Delphi Consulting Group Inc.

Hawes said the solution approach is ideal for some companies, but not for others.

"It depends on the buyer. Some companies don't have the resources to do these developments and the ongoing maintenance a portal will take and that Web services will take. Other companies are comfortable with doing it themselves," Hawes said.

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