Boston (MA) - Microsoft this morning announced server-based application customization tools for Office Enterprise 2007, the high-end distribution of the company's applications suite. Included within this extended distribution will be integrated search capabilities (presumably including what had been called "WinFS"), workflow management, a distributed storage and retrieval system for structured data called "Business Data Catalog," and something we're just learning about called "Web Site and Security Framework."
The keyphrase being mentioned here this morning is "line-of-business interoperability" (LOBi). If you'd rather not try saying that yourself, think about this: Consider a fairly vertically integrated set of business processes whose reach extends to the basic functionality of Office applications, changing their look and feel. Case in point: Suppose you're a system admin for a hospital. The way nurses at that hospital use Microsoft Word and the way payroll officers there use Word are going to be extremely different from one another. So the basic functions both classes of workers use and see by way of the "ribbon" in the user interface (a demonstration of which was covered yesterday) may be completely different for both classes of employees.
LOBi processes, coupled with changes made by the admin or the internal development team prior to Office's being installed on the clients (assuming it's not being run from servers, which is another new capability demonstrated at TechEd), will change the basic operating procedures for users of Office apps. As a result, the usage model for these applications may no longer follow a basic model.
More news from the Office Enterprise 2007 demonstrations later today on TG Daily.