When I first heard the term OBA the first thing that I thought of was the place far far away in the StarWars galaxy or something... You should of known about this from all the talk over the years about the partnership between MS and the evil Empire. :)
*StarWars copywrited by LucasArts.
All joking aside, OBAs or in a non-acronym, Office Business Applications (OBAs) are actually just as cool to business nerds!
OBAs are a new breed of composite applications that bring together the front-office and back-office. They do so by unlocking the value assets in the enterprise. These consist of line-of-business systems built by developers and Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS) solutions. OBAs surface this valuable functionality through familiar interfaces making them more accessible and actionable to information workers.
The 2007 Microsoft Office system provides a powerful and ubiquitous platform to build next generation business applications.
Ok, so what are they really? Well very simply, OBAs use the common 2007 Office System components in a service oriented way. The most common way to expose this functionality is through Office 2007 Clients such as Word, Excel or Outlook. Below is an example of OR-LOS uses the Office 2007 clients in the Loan Origination Underwriting process.
Since Communication is archived through standardized XML web services so clients could also consist of other applications as well. For example, Smart clients could be used for Loan Officers at a bank instead of the SharePoint user interface. Or if your organization uses other technologies such as Java since the OBA architecture of OR-LOS uses web services end points through out to expose workflow's interoperability is easily achieved.