A different approach to explain what is BizTalk… word clouds

Posted: October 24, 2011  |  Categories: BizTalk
Tags: BizTalk

I’m in the process of becoming a great speaker (an untouchable beauty of this world is that we do not pay taxes for our dreams, yet ), however in my short experience one of the greatest difficulties that I encountered is trying to explain: “What is BizTalk?” in a short way, ie that doesn’t take a long time of the session, to an audience of technicians or developers who know little or nothing about the product.

For example, these days I did a presentation on a specific topic of BizTalk: “Introduction to BizTalk maps” and obviously before talking about maps is always good to make a quick introduction to the product, in order to contextualize the session. I usually like to have an image that speaks to her, and I, with a few comments, add additional value to the image and thereby explain what is BizTalk… what might be called “a picture is worth a thousand words”. And this is something that still could not find, this is because we are talking about a platform with many technologies and features associated which are not easy to describe in a single image.

Sometimes we can use images like this:

BizTalk Server
BizTalk Server
BizTalk Server
BizTalk Server

That are excellent images and that minimally describe the product but not entirely, some pictures describe the architecture, other the technologies, other communications…, which sometimes requires more effort for the speaker to explain the product.

In this specify session I used a different image, in order to make a slight approach to the product without going into all the features, which turned out to have practical results in the session:

BizTalk Server

But… sometimes, or many times, I get the feeling that the audience seeing this kind of images get the wrong impression and even before making the explanation they are already thinking “I don’t need BizTalk to do that and with a simple ESB or WCF can get the same result”.

Yes! In reality, there is nothing that BizTalk do that can be done with code written from scratch! The question is how long it takes to implement a solution without using a Middleware like BizTalk?

You can easily make an integration between two systems with the use of communication technologies and data transport such as Microsoft WCF or Web Service, but when we look more closely at some of the requirements, is easy to identify that some challenges can become quite complex: implement persistence, correlation of asynchronous messages, recovery in case of failures, complex mappings, atomicity, long-running transactions, monitoring and visibility of the process, … and all this is reflected in huge implementation costs.

It is here that BizTalk enters and does what he does best, because all these features are available “Out of the box” with the product, thereby freeing the developers the necessity of having to reimplement those features again and again and thereby allowing to have focus in the most critical aspect: the implementation of business logic associated with integration flows.

Sorry for the outburst and back to the topic, in my case (session), in the end, I got the impression that some of the messages were not passed with the success I wanted. Developers are always thinking of alternative solutions or technologies and always making comparisons, but sometimes also speak by his passions, if I don’t like C # then most likely I feel that Java is best, SQL is better the Oracle… they are a difficult audience.

So in the quest to find the perfect image, I found this picture:

BizTalk Server

I love this picture because it describes many of the technologies, features, and architecture of the platform. However, I think it is a little bit boring to always apply the same image in all sessions, therefore…

I suggest a different approach, and perhaps more fun, to explain what is BizTalk by using “word clouds“:

BizTalk Server
BizTalk Server

Perhaps will require a better explanation of the product, maybe I will spend a little more time on this slide, but it will be fun and maybe the message will be transmitted with more success.

If you look in the images, only one word is not inherent “Out of the box” with the product: “BizTalk360”, but I decided to put it because I just love this product.

In my next session, I will use this strategy and if the result is not the best … always serve as excellent wallpapers

Author: Sandro Pereira

Sandro Pereira lives in Portugal and works as a consultant at DevScope. In the past years, he has been working on implementing Integration scenarios both on-premises and cloud for various clients, each with different scenarios from a technical point of view, size, and criticality, using Microsoft Azure, Microsoft BizTalk Server and different technologies like AS2, EDI, RosettaNet, SAP, TIBCO etc. He is a regular blogger, international speaker, and technical reviewer of several BizTalk books all focused on Integration. He is also the author of the book “BizTalk Mapping Patterns & Best Practices”. He has been awarded MVP since 2011 for his contributions to the integration community.

5 thoughts on “A different approach to explain what is BizTalk… word clouds”

  1. What is BizTalk ?
    I asked this questions to many people and each time i got the different answer.
    But i am want to tell you that the way you explained here is very creative and i appreciate this 🙂

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