At Tech Ed, Microsoft will announce Office Business Application (OBA) services. This announcement nicely builds on the previous two posts.
Think of OBA as the platform support for “business mash-ups” in Office. To date we have been using Sharepoint 2.0 on the server and VSTO on the client in Office 2003 for our integration. With Office 2007, we get many additional services across – on the server we get Business Data Catalog, Workflow, better provider models for security & search, new Excel server; and on the client new UX extensibility; Open XML Formats. All these services enable developers to start using Office as the “data middle tier” and “client” that “composes” multiple back end applications into more “role centric” experiences.
We in Dynamics already deliver on the promise of integration today across our CRM and ERP product lines. Dynamics CRM is the canonical example of what one can do on the client side of Office for business process activities (i.e. immersive integration of sales/marketing/service roles within Outlook). Dynamics AX 4.0, being released at Tech Ed, has its entire portal in Sharepoint. Dynamics SNAP apps are great examples of “business mash-ups” we deliver using VSTO and enable Word, Excel and Outlook to get at any business entity from within Dynamics in the context of the Office document.
Its important to note that “out of the box” Office 2007 OBA services will work with Dynamics given that work we have already done exposing Dynamics in Sharepoint and also general Web Services infrastructure in Dynamics. That said we will exploit some of the new capabilities in Office 2007. For example in Dynamics GP 10.0 (early CY 07), will go further and embed Office 2007 Server and exploit BDC, BI, search and workflow capabilities.