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Outsourcing and using third-party resources to deliver solutions has been a mainstay of IT organizations for years and continues to increase. In fact, according to Gartner, outsourcing will continue to grow in 2009 despite the economic slowdown. Microsoft, like other corporations, uses vendor resources to help carry out many parts of its business functions. For example, Microsoft uses vendors to fulfill hardware manufacturing, retail software production, and code creation for products. To support the business needs for vendor involvement with Microsoft business units, Microsoft Information Technology (Microsoft IT) designed and implemented an extranet environment that was flexible enough to accommodate many usage scenarios, yet followed best practices for security, operability, and scalability.
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