Microsoft: Forget BI apps, the future is LOBi

Microsoft: Forget BI apps, the future is LOBi

Summary: Business Intelligence is "too expensive and doesn't have high traction" says Microsoft's head of platform strategy


User are realising that applications like business intelligence (BI), specialised workflow systems and even traditional CRM applications will not be necessary in the future as organisations tie into "people-ready" business solutions, according to Microsoft.

The company's general manager for platform strategy, Charles Fitzgerald, hit out in particular at BI applications on Friday which he said were "high-end and very expensive, and don't have high traction".

Fitzgerald, on a visit to London to promote Microsoft's latest moves in Office Business Applications, talked of a "new breed of people-ready" business solutions being rolled out this year by Microsoft. These solutions will allow "information workers to use the familiar Microsoft Office tools they know to access and interact with business applications".

According to Fitzgerald, the aim behind Microsoft's applications strategy is to "unlock the back-end " to show "the impact that individuals can have on the business". On example of this already in use, says Fitzgerald, is Microsoft CRM 3.0 which was launched last December.

It was criticised by competitors like Siebel and for being based on Microsoft Outlook, but Fitzgerald maintains that this is a key part of the overall strategy. "Business applications have been "just difficult to understand and use", said Fitzgerald. "Business people know Outlook and know how to use it....The goal is to help companies amplify the impact of their people: saving time and money, increasing process compliance, and improving decision-making."

Microsoft LOBi (line-of-business interoperability) is aimed at the company's Office SharePoint Server. "LOBi is a future set of capabilities that will work together with Office client applications and Office SharePoint Server 2007, which will be out in the middle of next year." Fitzgerald said.

LOBi has been shown to some customers and, Fitzgerald, says, "we see great excitement about this". It makes it easier for people" to build even more complex applications", he said, "but anybody will be able to do it. It is all about unlocking that potential in everyone. It is very democratic."

A technical preview of LOBi for Office SharePoint Server will be available at the end of 2006. according to Microsoft.

Topic: Apps


Colin Barker is based in London and is Senior Reporter for ZDNet. He has been writing about the IT business for some 30-plus years. He still enjoys it.

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  • Bull! Quote, "Business people know Outlook and know how to use it....", unquote. I dare you to spend 1 hour at a helpdesk of your choice and thus find out how well business people know Outlook for real. Simply because it's so bloated that it's nearly impossible for anyone but properly trained and battle hardend experienced IT professionals to use it as you're supposed to (keep in mind that just Outlook gives you nothing, you'll have to include Exchange, Windows, AD, anti-virus and likely a few other things as well to even begin using the basics). And how things work and react differs between OL on-line mode, OL off-line mode, Exchange functional mode, OWA, OMA, Windows functional mode, Office suite version in place, patch level, third-party tools inplace, add-ons in place, security configuration in place, AD policies in place, Exchange policies in place, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc. You think you know Outlook? Well, try to support a dozen or more Outlook enabled environments. Then we'll talk.

    Quote, "familiar Microsoft Office tools", unquote. Another dream, since most of us are very well experienced with having to deal with "new and improved" Microsoft Office product upgrades that on the one hand look familiair but on the other hand have been "optimized due to customer feedback" to such an extend that we might as well have learned to work with a less costly alternative. The learning curve involved would have been just as great but the overall cost a whole lot less. Tax payers, are you listening? What's your (local) government choosing as their next default workplace applications before the coming elections?
  • outlook vs SAP
    how many screens and modules do you need to get SAP to do anything remoetly usefull ?
    software )and life) is hard work deal with it and stop moaning.
    about outlook
  • Anonymous pc support. If I understand you correctly then you are actually in favour of having to pay a lot for complicated, and thus frustrating and error prone, software solutions? Gee, doesn't that sound like selling "solutions" just to cash in on what it can't yet was promised? Tell me, when was the last time you signed a no cure, no pay contract? Just to show how much you stand behind the kind of solutions you promote.