Quite an interesting press release - Microsoft unveils Office Business Application Strategy, marrying enterprise applications with Microsoft Office - here are some of the most interesting excerpts:
Introducing LOBi for Office SharePoint Server, New Capabilities Enabling Traditional Business Applications to Deeply Integrate into the Familiar Office Environment
The development of Office Business Applications is made possible by new platform capabilities in the 2007 Microsoft® Office system. These capabilities are called Office Business Application (OBA) Services and consist of: workflow; search; the Business Data Catalog; a new, extensible user interface; Microsoft Office Open XML Formats; and the Web Site and Security Framework. These services can be used to extend Microsoft Office system investments in business intelligence, unified communications and collaboration, and enterprise content management, as well as other business applications by ISVs or corporate developers.
Microsoft also announced LOBi (line-of-business interoperability) for Microsoft Office SharePoint® Server. LOBi for SharePoint Server is a future set of capabilities that will work together with Microsoft Office client applications and Office SharePoint Server 2007. LOBi enables deep structured process integration with Office client applications, the ability for people to update transactional applications from within Microsoft Office, and the ability to more securely take structured business processes and data offline. A technical preview of LOBi for Office SharePoint Server will be available at the end of 2006.
Underpinning connectivity and process integration with line-of-business applications, Microsoft also announced plans to deliver the BizTalk® Adapter Pack, a set of line-of-business application adapters that simplify the connectivity between the 2007 Microsoft Office system and other applications.
"LOBi for Office SharePoint Server provides a clear path for developers and industry partners to solve one of the biggest problems facing IT: making business applications that end users actually embrace because the interfaces are familiar and in the context of where they do their work," said Lewis Levin, corporate vice president of the Office Business Applications Group at Microsoft. "The customer value of deep interoperability between Microsoft Office and business applications has been validated by Microsoft Dynamics(TM) business management solutions and products like Duet, our joint product with SAP. By building LOBi on Office SharePoint Server, we allow customers to get started today creating Office Business Applications and then grow with LOBi when it becomes available."
Microsoft Dynamics CRM and ERP business solutions such as Microsoft Dynamics AX, which was also announced today at TechEd, take advantage of Office Business Application Services for close integration with the 2007 Office system. Microsoft Dynamics solutions will also utilize LOBi as it continues to expand on these capabilities.