Office Business Applications

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Office Business Applications (OBA) is a marketing term for software applications that use the Microsoft Office system (such as Outlook, Word, or Excel) as the user interface for an application.[1]


Users perform significant additional work outside of the formal processes of a line of business (LOB) system as they collaborate with other people via phone and email, obtain information from multiple sources in the form of documents and spreadsheets, and switch between online and offline modes for meetings and business trips. Applications and documents can be extended to add enterprise-specific features, and LOB systems can be integrated with Microsoft Office to make the LOB system more accessible.

OBA's employ a composite application architecture, and link the 2007 Microsoft Office System applications running on the desktop to custom and off-the-shelf Line of Business (LOB) applications running on remote servers. Typically this link happens via web services. For example, rather than using Outlook only for email and calendaring, an OBA might allow Outlook to also provide a view into an inventory system, a customer service system, or an HR system.

An OBA can mean easier-to-use applications and faster adoption of enterprise systems, because end users get the familiar Office-based experience, while connecting to sometimes-unfriendly information systems or applications in the enterprise. Often the LOB services can be orchestrated by a technology such as Microsoft Biztalk Server Julius.


OBAs can be developed to meet a multitude of customer needs. For example, a company may want to:

  • Extend its LOB application to more users.
  • Implement an application that consolidates multiple user interfaces into a 2007 Office system document or SharePoint Server Web page.
  • Build a workflow application that helps users to regain control of critical documents.

Companies can buy OBA's from their application vendors, or they can build their own OBAs. ISVs and integrators can build applications consistent to the OBA paradigm, and leverage the existing IT investments of their customers with the goal of delivering more end user productivity.

Microsoft developed an OBA application, in cooperation with SAP, that is called Duet.

See also[edit]