This week Mike Walker announced a new "OBA Component Library" for Financial Services (OBA == Office Business Applications). If you're not familiar with OBAs, they are applications that are designed to help you use Office to get more out of the data center. We see countless situations where our customers have made a tremendous investment in line-of-business applications, but have failed to utilize the data these systems capture and manage. OBAs are designed to help solve this problem. By combining the familiar Office environment with (standards-based) integration capability, OBAs are quite useful in helping automate business processes and getting data in front of people so they can actually do something with it.
The OBA Component Library for Financial Services is a great example of how much interoperability is baked into Office, and illustrates pretty clearly how integration is fundamental to our success. Take a look at what is included in the library to get a sense for what these guys are up to:
- Site Templates
- Master Pages
- Silverlight Components
- BDC Web Parts
- Extending Enterprise Content Management Web Parts
- Industry Standards based Infopath Forms
- Document Generation Framework
- Custom XML based OpenXML Documents (Excel/Word)
- State Machine WF Workflows
- Series of standards based integration BDC Entities
- WS-* enabled ACORD Web Services Messages
- Office Communications Server Components
Note the inclusion of Open XML… one piece of many related to interoperability of Office. We get hung up on the file format related parts of the interop discussion, and forget that there is an entire platform behind the interop efforts. OBAs are a great illustration of that breadth, and underscore the commitment that Office and Microsoft have made to it.
Keep an eye out for the launch here: http://msdn.microsoft.com/FinServArch