Digital Marketplaces Enhanced

SAN MATEO (07/17/2000) - Microsoft Corp. and KPMG Consulting LLC teamed up Monday to form Dot.Ramp, an offering that combines software and services to help enterprises connect to business-to-business digital marketplaces.

The marketplace exchange system will be based on Microsoft's newly announced .NET strategy, which aims to make the Redmond, Wash. company's software available as services on a wide variety of devices, ranging from PCs to cell phones, via the Internet. .NET relies heavily on XML and BizTalk Server, a b-to-b data interchange server that was released in beta last week and is expected to ship by the end of 2000.

McLean, Va.-based KPMG will provide systems integration work and consulting services via the new Microsoft Dot.Com Practice unit and will hire 500 consultants during the next year for the project.

"What we're doing is building a set of BizTalk Server templates" geared to answer pricing and packaging concerns in those industries' digital exchanges, said Rebecca Kaske, director of supply chain initiatives at Microsoft. "We're trying to solve the problem of how buyers and suppliers participate at a low cost in the digital marketplace phenomenon."

Debuting later this year, Dot.Ramp's initial focus will center on five vertical markets: aerospace, chemical, energy, automotive, and industrial products.

Kaske said Dot.Ramp will support software from SAP AG, Commerce One Inc., JD Edwards & Co., Ariba Inc., Oracle Corp., and Seibel Systems Inc.

One early adopter, Morristown-based Honeywell already is using Microsoft's Windows DNA architecture platform for several of its e-business portals, including MyPlant, MyFacilities and MyAircraft, according to Microsoft officials.

Earlier this year, Microsoft and KPMG collaborated on an e-commerce services and consulting package called the Microsoft Dot.com Practice, which initially centered on the then-new Windows 2000 offering from Microsoft.

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