Microsoft Commerce Server 2007 provides a comprehensive solution for many business scenarios, including:
The latest edition of Commerce Server (2007) is designed around 4 main blocks of functionality (discussed below). A typical application will orchestrate these functions as an application that enhances the typical experience for shoppers, web developers, merchants, system administrators and other information technology professionals. Commerce Server also facilitates the processes involved with building and managing an online commercial presence for each through a set of auxiliary tools aimed at a specific audience.
The Orders & Inventory system is responsible for tracking orders made by customers. Commerce Server 2007 can link with external systems that track inventory for a business so that inventory information is kept up-to-date and communicate with the appropriate parties when inventory runs low to indicate that it's time for new stock to be ordered. Business users are able to determine what "low" is through an easy-to-use management tool which lets them set inventory thresholds and get reports on product sales according to whatever metrics are desired (thanks to Microsoft SQL Server Analytics).
Products themselves can be described in virtually every way using the Catalog system. No matter their shape, size, colour, odor, or disposition, products, the categories they belong to and relationships with other products are tracked by Commerce Server 2007. A sophisticated and configurable metadata system makes sure Commerce Server 2007 can address any kind of merchant scenario, be the business big or small.
Managing promotions on a website can become a task unto itself, but Commerce Server 2007 addresses this growing web-trend by distilling the index operations associated with online advertising into a finite collection of functions. These let the business user manage ads and set rules that determine the conditions under which specific ads appear. Whether it's to boost sales on items that aren't meeting required sales thresholds or to sell certain products to customers who've shown an interest in a particular kind of item, the Marketing system can be quickly molded into a powerful tool to enhance your online business.
Almost every commercial website today makes some effort to personalize the content for the individual shopper. Commerce Server 2007 delivers a means to do more than let the user pick the background color of the webpage; Commerce Server's Profile system can do everything from tracking a shopper's product preferences, to tailoring the website presentation for the individual user, to making the job of keeping in touch with customers easy. The Profile system is ultimately responsible for making sure each shopper comes back again and again.
Commerce Server 2007 also comes bundled with Data Warehouse Analytics, which offer sophisticated reporting functionality (dependent on the availability of Microsoft SQL Server Analytics module) in addition to the Commerce Server Staging (CSS) system. The Staging functionality automates the deployment of both dynamic and active content across a network infrastructure and can accommodate a wide variety of network configurations. (Some have remarked that the speed of CSS deployments is perhaps the most note-worthy aspect of this component.)
According to the product documentation, Commerce Server 2007 requires the presence of Microsoft SQL Server 2005 or later, although solutions using Microsoft SQL Server 2000 have been reported. Commerce Server also can leverage a number of other Microsoft server products, including BizTalk Server 2006.
Commerce Server 2007 relies on components that are themselves dependent on the presence of the .NET Framework 2.0 and Microsoft's Component Object Model (COM). Recommended deployments are confined to Windows Server 2003 only, as of the release of Service Pack 1.
Development of Commerce Server is expected to continue well into the foreseeable future, although no specific schedule for release either of additional Service Packs or features has been released, beyond that of Service Pack 2 whose release is expected by summer 2008. Discourse in Microsoft company-sponsored blogs suggests that future development will include functionality being extended to Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS) and Windows SharePoint Service (WSS) 3.x/4.x sometime after summer 2008.
With the release of Service Pack 2, Commerce Server 2007 will be supported on the Windows Server 2008 platform as well.