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Microsoft to dig into work flow strategy

Company plans to detail Windows Workflow Foundation, common software meant to bring work flow tooling to various products.

LOS ANGELES--Microsoft intends to detail its strategy on Wednesday for building work flow capabilities throughout its product line.

At the company's Professional Developers Conference here, executives are expected to discuss Windows Workflow Foundation, software designed to manage different steps in a business process, such as the handling of insurance claims. That work flow tooling will be baked into many of Microsoft's products, much the way that its Windows Communications Foundations will handle communications in the forthcoming

"We're building work flow deep into the platform," Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates said in an interview with CNET

On Tuesday, Microsoft executives said Office 12, which is due in the second half of next year, will have a work flow server for routing documents between Office applications.

Many of the tasks that were performed with customer relationship management, or CRM, applications will likely be supplanted by the combination of Office 12 desktop applications and a planned set of server products, Gates said.

"A lot of what CRM is about is about work flow," he said. "End users should be able to build work flows very easily."

The company's next version of BizTalk integration server will also further integrate Microsoft's work flow technology, according to PDC session descriptions. The company is holding a number of sessions on how to take advantage of Windows Workflow Foundation in its efforts to encourage developers to build work flow applications on Windows.