BOSTON — June 12, 2006 — Today at the Microsoft® Tech•Ed 2006 conference, Microsoft Corp. outlined its strategy to foster the development of Office Business Applications, a new breed of “People-Ready” business solutions that allow information workers to use their familiar Microsoft Office environment for accessing and interacting with business applications and structured processes. The goal is to help companies amplify the impact of their people: saving time and money, increasing process compliance, and improving decision-making.
Office Business Applications focus on the complete processes that actual information workers follow. Most people conduct their jobs outside of structured, line-of-business processes because their work is often collaborative in nature, they need information from multiple sources, and they often work offline (in meetings, traveling or otherwise away from their desks). For example, salespeople want to access customer information, manage their sales calls in their Microsoft Office Outlook calendar, access product experts inside their company, and make proposals without “reinventing the wheel.” These more fluid processes help them get their jobs done, but typically are not part of traditional customer relationship management (CRM) systems.
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.
Developers and industry partners will be able to build Office Business Applications to expand business opportunities, increase solution flexibility, and make traditional business applications more “People-Ready.” Office Business Applications will also help businesses extract new value from their existing investments by extending key LOB applications into the environment that information workers already know and use: Microsoft Office.
“‘Stove-pipe,’ project-centric, business process automation has dominated enterprise applications. But pressure for business process flexibility and agility, and the introduction of new cross-application solutions, is breaching the boundaries and extending into person-to-process interaction,” said Yvonne Genovese, vice president and distinguished analyst for Gartner Inc. “The industry will move more toward capabilities that will combine the corporate view of process with the process of the individual user. This gets us closer to what Gartner calls the ‘Process of Me.’”
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™ 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 Tech•Ed, 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.
Industry Support for Office Business Application Services
More than 900 industry partners are already building solutions that take advantage of Office Business Application Services delivered in the 2007 Microsoft Office system. In addition, business application vendors and systems integrators have announced their intent to utilize LOBi for Office SharePoint Server when it becomes available, including Above All Software Inc., Accenture, Approva Corp., Epicor Software Corp., GE Fanuc Automation, Hyperion Solutions Corp., i2 Technologies Inc., K2net, Open Text Corp., Panorama Software Ltd., QAD Inc., Rockwell Automation Inc., UGS Corp., Wonderware and Workday.
“Our clients are always looking to extract more value from their inventory planning investments,” said Narendra Mulani, senior executive who leads the North America Supply Chain practice for Accenture. “With the introduction of LOBi, our supply chain clients can benefit from greater interoperability between their enterprise planning systems and the Office interface.”
“Microsoft is taking a big step forward with the 2007 Microsoft Office system and is showing long-term vision and commitment with LOBi,” said Tom Jenkins, executive chairman and chief strategy officer of Open Text Corp. “LOBi supports the complementary business solutions we’re delivering to address ECM requirements in key vertical and horizontal market segments. The result is better solutions that pull together content from across the entire enterprise to address challenges such as legal discovery, corporate governance or e-submissions in Life Sciences, while giving users fast access to information where they work today: Microsoft Office.”
Office Business Application Services are currently available for beta testing (via the 2007 Office system release). A technical preview of LOBi for Office SharePoint Server is scheduled to be available at the end of 2006. Developers can get started today creating Office Business Applications using the 2007 Office system, and then expand those capabilities with LOBi when it becomes available. More information can be found online at http://msdn.microsoft.com/office.
Microsoft Office Business Applications and Line-of-Business Interoperability (LOBi) for Office SharePoint Server Customer Quotes
“By leveraging the new capabilities delivered by LOBi for Microsoft® Office SharePoint® Server, i2 will be able to bring a high level of usability and extensibility to our new-generation Supply Chain Management solutions.”
– Karen Laucka
i2 Technologies Inc.
“A key element required to deliver on UGS’ vision of global innovation networks is to connect everyone to a company’s new product development engine, both from within the company and throughout the supply chain. By using Office Business Applications, our customers can make seamless connections through our Teamcenter PLM software in a way that enables knowledge workers to remain in the Microsoft Office environment, where they will be most productive.”
– Chris Kelle
Vice President Partner, Platform Marketing
“Wonderware sees great applicability of LOBi for Office SharePoint Server to greatly simplify what are now labor-intensive information-gathering tasks by manufacturing people. Wonderware will be combining this new capability with real-time and historical plant information and will be delivering a new breed of software solutions that significantly enhances the productivity of manufacturing people.”
– Mark Davidson
Vice President, Global Marketing
“A key benefit of the FactoryTalk plantwide information suite is making real-time access to accurate manufacturing data easier across the board. With LOBi, that information becomes readily accessible through Microsoft Office applications that people use every day. It represents a sea change for productivity and collaboration inside and outside the four walls of production.”
– Kevin Roach
Vice President, Software Business
Rockwell Automation Inc.
“Microsoft’s vision and plans for LOBi and the 2007 Office system are very exciting to Hyperion and our customers. Hyperion’s Business Performance Management solutions, combined with Microsoft LOBi functionality for the Office system, will extend the functionality of our solutions to our customers to achieve better performance across all business processes.”
– Robert Gersten
Chief Development Officer
Hyperion Solutions Corp.
“Approva shares the vision of enabling the business process owner who lives within the Office application environment today. Our customers benefit greatly from monitoring for key business exceptions and risks across heterogeneous enterprise applications and collaboratively resolving the exceptions without leaving the familiar environment of Office.”
– P.V. Boccasam
“The next generation of enterprise applications will be designed for the operational side of the business first and then the back office, not the other way around. Enhanced integration with Microsoft Office is an important part of the overall user experience, which we intend to support out of the box.”
– Aneel Bhusri
Co-founder and Chief Vision Officer
“Many QAD customers stand to benefit from Microsoft making business applications more accessible through Microsoft Office. LOBI will give them better access to critical data and processes that can help drive competitive business advantage.”
– Jim Kirkley
Chief Technology Officer
“We have been impressed with our initial exposure to the LOBi and OBA initiatives. Our customers have told us they want a predictable set of tools to build their business solutions. We think the combination of K2.net and LOBi will allow us to provide a solution framework to meet our customers’ expectations.”
– Adriaan Van Wyk
SourceCode Technology Holdings Inc.
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