On July 2nd 2009 Europe’s largest brewery, Heineken, released a brand new version of its website www.heineken.nl in partnership full service web agency Virtual Affairs.  This new website features  integration of product content and catalogs from various business partners. It provides business partners such as Universal Music, the ability to manage orders, logistics, customer service and payments directly from the Heineken website.
 
Virtual Affairs implemented a fully integrated e-commerce platform based on Microsoft® Commerce Server 2007 and Microsoft SharePoint® Services 3.0.  In addition, Windows Communication Foundation, which comes out of the box with the .NET platform, is used to link internal and external processes between Heineken and its partners.  A key element to the website’s success is real-time processing. "A customer who orders tickets from the website has to be sure that these tickets are actually available,” says Rutger Beens, architect of the website. SharePoint Services is used as the rich content management system to allow manual content entry, for example, listing events on the music calendar. Rutger continues “Today’s websites provide customers with rich and relevant content, and they require continuous updates, which has a huge impact on the content management processes. With Microsoft Commerce Server and Sharepoint Services, we have found a technical solution that includes our business partners in this process and significantly lowers our operational costs".
 
While the website currently uses Adobe® Flash, the aim is to switch to Silverlight TM in the near future. “The overall use of Adobe Flash as the standard consumer browser is currently higher. The number of Silverlight users is catching up though.” says Beens. He expects that many website visitors will soon have the Silverlight plug-in installed. "With the World Cup Soccer coming up in 2010, we would like to offer video on our site. Silverlight is the perfect technology for this purpose”.

 For more information in Virtual Affairs, visit http://www.virtual-affairs.com/