This article discusses:
Microsoft Office and LOB integration
Actual applications in OBA mode
This article uses the following techniques:
Visual Studio 2008
Large systems such as SAP and PeopleSoft, as well as other integrated line-of-business (LOB) systems, are critical for successfully managing all types of business data and processes. However, not everyone in the organization has access to these systems, so the business data is usually available only to a few people. This often results in the extraction of data from outside the system for processing, resulting in a disconnect between the business data source and the information workers who use the data.
The Office Business Application (OBA) solves this problem by using Microsoft®office to bridge the business data in the LOB system with information workers. Office features enable you to integrate Customer Relationship management (CRM) data into Microsoft Outlook® through custom form regions and folders, integrating business intelligence into Microsoft Office Sharepoint®server (M OSS) To view sales performance data, and even integrate Microsoft excel® with financial data to provide predictive templates that use data that comes directly from the LOB system, and so on.
To understand OBA, you can see it as a very simple model that includes the following three major sections: LOB systems, custom Office clients integrated with LOB systems, and server components that are also integrated with LOB systems (essentially, MOSS). Note that when you build OBA, you can also take advantage of other Microsoft server products, such as Exchange Server 2007, Performancepointtm Server 2007, and so on.
From an architectural standpoint, you will primarily use service-oriented architecture (SOA) to integrate with LOB systems, but with OBA you can customize the client as a service-tier interface in a variety of ways. More likely, you will use Visual Studio®tools for Office (VSTO) to do this work. For example, Figure 1 shows an interface that uses custom Ribbon and custom task panes. Both interfaces have a service layer that populates the Excel 2007 spreadsheet with event information from SAP, and both are built using VSTO 3.0 0 (the latest version of the VSTO included in Visual Studio 2008 Professional and later). You can also design your own interface to use Microsoft Word content controls and bind those controls to data, or to extend Outlook with a custom toolbar, form region, or custom Ribbon. For more information about how to customize the client, see the "OBA Information resources" sidebar.
Figure 1 integrates SAP and Excel 2007