BizTalk is an industry initiative headed by Microsoft to promote Extensible Markup Language (XML) as the common data exchange language for e-commerce and application integration on the Internet. While not a standards body per se, the group is fostering a common XML message-passing architecture to tie systems together. BizTalk says that the growth of e-commerce requires businesses using different computer technologies to have a means to share data. Accepting XML as a platform-neutral way to represent data transmitted between computers, the BizTalk group provides guidelines, referred to as the BizTalk Framework, for how to publish schema (standard data structures) in XML and how to use XML messages to integrate software programs.
In addition to Microsoft, other vendors such as SAP and CommerceOne are supporting BizTalk. Microsoft offers BizTalk Server 2000, which can implement XML-based data integration. The server software includes tools to create and design XML definitions, map data from one definition to another, and manage process flow, document verification, and data exchange and processing.