Microsoft has released a reference architecture to help developers tailor supply chain middleware for its forthcoming Office 2007 platform.
The Reference Application Pack for Supply Chain Management covers various collaboration scenarios across organisational boundaries.
Microsoft said, "Traditional business applications do not enable collaboration across functional boundaries - which forces information workers to use personal productivity tools to fill these gaps in order to conduct business."
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This leads to a loss in productivity as users are forced to cross from one set of tools to another. Information workers need to bridge this divide in a way that is seamless, synchronised and secure, said the firm.
Microsoft's grand vision involves the development of a new breed of composite applications that can support cross-functional processes, and which can be assembled from the collection of information assets that the business has already deployed.
The Office 2007 system provides a platform for building these solutions - called Office Business Applications (OBAs). Microsoft has launched the OBA for supply chain management as its first effort to address Office 2007's capabilities.