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MS Connects Office and Back-Office Apps 86

Robert writes to tell us CBR Online is reporting that Microsoft has released a new set of tools to link up their back-office applications with Office 2003. From the article: "The Microsoft Dynamics Snap tools allow users to interact with data and processes within Dynamics AX 3.0 (Axapta), and Dynamics CRM 3.0 without leaving Office, by taking small components from the back office applications and snapping them into the Office environment. The initial release delivers four applications. Timesheet Snap-In and Vacation Management Snap-In, which are built for Dynamics AX only, and two versions of Business Data Lookup Snap-In, one each for Dynamics AX and Dynamics CRM."
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MS Connects Office and Back-Office Apps

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  • Oh, goodie! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Jordan Catalano ( 915885 ) on Monday February 27, 2006 @03:50PM (#14811498) Homepage
    Microsoft + connected applications = new wave of scripting exploits
    • Re:Oh, goodie! (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      It's also a new wave of lock-in. I'm subjected to lock-in at work because the chosen Microsoft tools exploit microsoft-only interfaces to ensure that the "web" frontend can only run on IE.
    • Well said. The more the back office stuff is integrated with the client stuff, the easier it would seem to be for some random cubicle farmer to download a worm or trojan that can screw up the whole system, resulting in sysadmins having to do even more locking down of user privledges.
      • Maybe not. All I got from the article was "Blarg, Blarg Blarg Blarg. Blarg Blarg." Not much chance of back office integration from that. At least in my office.
    • Anyone remember playing with BackOrifice in the highschool computer lab?

      Yea, we got in trouble for that, but it was fun.

      http://www.cultdeadcow.com/tools/bo.html [cultdeadcow.com]
    • According to Symantec, Apple is planning to have a similar exploit next week. News at 11...
  • From TFA: (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Snap is part of Microsoft's long range Dynamics strategy which ultimately aims to unite its business applications through a single code base.

    *shivers*
  • Say what? (Score:2, Funny)

    by ecorona ( 953223 )
    After reading the description was anybody else's response "What the freak does that mean?"
    • Yep. I was expecting something more along the lines of a config-free integration with Outlook/Exchange/Office/Windows/Windows Mobile/Active Directory, but no such luck. Instead we get something about vacation snap-ins? Anyone with more MS back-office experience care to translate for us? /me goes back to wrestling with Outlook Web Objects Group Policy
    • It means what ever you want it to mean.
    • freak?

      I was way off...

    • mine was "what the Frack does that mean"
    • by gullevek ( 174152 )
      I was more like. Oh shit, I hope no manager every hears about this or it will be: "IT MAN, WE NEED THIS NOW, IMMEDIATLY!"
    • They're talking about creating a tigher integration between their new business line products and the existing/popular Office products.

      Their new business line (Microsoft Dynamics)include an ERP (Axapta), an MRP (Great Plains), and a CRM. These are all very basic terms in business/IT.

      Whats happening now is that they're finally integrating these products to work better with Office.
    • by Koatdus ( 8206 )

      After reading the description was anybody else's response "What the freak does that mean?"

      When I talk about snap-in's(tm) I am referring to a new paradigm of holistic .NET(tm) applications and tools that click in to our LIVE(tm) systems in a synergistic way to provide a seamless E-interface(tm) that addresses "Middleware to Middleware Conversations"(tm) and allows the developer and the E-developer to leverage the .NET(tm) platform and the LIVE(tm) platform to their fullest extent therefore improving produc

  • Too bad. That seems to be the general sway of things. Oh wait, this is Microsoft. *Everyone* uses Outlook in their world.
    • I wouldn't say "everyone", sadly however, "enough" people are using Outlook.
      • Say what you will about Outlook/Exchange, it's really not bad software.

        Perhaps if it were such terrible software there would be another big player in the groupware market. There are plenty of small ones... but none that can replace Exchange. Believe me... when one exists I'll be migrating.

        -sid
    • And to the MS-centric view of the world those who don't use Outlook (sad, misguided fools that they are) are statistically insignificant and don't really exist.

      As a Notes user at work, it's interesting to see how they're trying to tie all the business processes to their systems.
    • Um, they are a for profit corporation, right? That means they have some incentive to make money. This means creating unique products with features no one else has.
      • "This means creating unique products with features no one else has."

        Sure it does. But typical of MS instead of "creating unique products with features no one else has" they are "creating obscure products that nobody needs" opening the works up to more script kiddie nonsense.

        B.
        • Well if that is the case, then they will go out of buisness, and all the Linux and Mac fanboys will rejoice. As it stands, YOU probably don't have a personal need for this new product, just like me, but some large corporations want it. And, it is an optional package, you have to download and install it seperately from office. That means no widespread security holes.
          • "Well if that is the case, then they will go out of buisness, and all the Linux and Mac fanboys will rejoice."

            That's a ridiculous statement. In case you haven't noticed, Microsoft is a monopoly with their fingers in so many pies it makes your head spin. It is highly unlikely this will break them. See below for more...

            "As it stands, YOU probably don't have a personal need for this new product, just like me, but some large corporations want it."

            Prove it. It is Office automation that got MS into the mess with
        • if it is all about "creating obscure products that nobody needs", then nobody would buy/use it. So no work for script kiddies. Script kiddies get to work only when the software gets popular and people start buying/using it. Then it is no more obscure product that nobody needs... do you get the irony of your post...
          • "f it is all about "creating obscure products that nobody needs", then nobody would buy/use it."

            Unless it is foisted off on them in a monopolistic way say integrated into their Office product .... Oooopssss. That's exactly what they are doing....My bad.

            B.
  • If only i knew what the hell good it is...

    To the millions of Linux only users who live and breathe here ?

    Did Taco lapse into a "Querty On The Forehead" comma again....
    and some passing winhose juggernaut tapped this onto his keyboard..

    We used to do that when someone would leave their terminal without
    logging off...we'd spam the intranet from their terminal...LOL

  • Seems like MS is trying hard to create links between their fat client and back office software. Could be looked as enabling client users to viral infect corporate infrastructure with the next generation of shared spreadsheets and access databases. Nice technically but locked into one vendor and takes away opportunity for using different clients. When will we stop accepting vendor lockin?
  • Using Timesheet Snap-In, Outlook users can view or submit time entries for regular tasks while the application also links Dynamics AX time entries to Outlook appointments and meetings.

    So, you are scheduled to attend a meeting and that meeting will be billed to Project A.

    Bill and Dave are also scheduled for the meeting, but something else comes up and they can't make it.

    Because they are important people on the project, the meeting wraps up in 15 minutes instead of the scheduled 1 hour.

    So now you have to go

    • That's an ideal world example...

      So, you are scheduled to attend a meeting and that meeting will be billed to Project A.

      Yep so far...

      Bill and Dave are also scheduled for the meeting, but something else comes up and they can't make it.

      Client will be billed for them anyway. They were "dedicated to in office only tasks relevant to the project."

      Because they are important people on the project, the meeting wraps up in 15 minutes instead of the scheduled 1 hour.

      We don't bill partial hours. Y

  • Well, MS is true to their traditions at least: why document interfaces when you can just plug snips of code in across the product lines?
    • Exactly, code that doesn't run in any other office suite, like, say OpenOffice. So if you choose Microsoft for backend or Web based server applications. you continue to fork out for Microsoft client applicationas as well, and vice versa. Microsoft hasn't been fighting the EU tooth and nail for no reason the last 5 years. They have been doing it precisely so that they could introduce things like their 'snap-ins' and prevent competing implementations. A tiger doesn't change its stripes, and neither do abusive
  • A mouthful of integration. Some people have literally made careers out of helping people manage Microsoft's complicated combination of software [msversus.org]. Microsoft brands every little piece. Then the IT departments of every big corporation spend a rediculous number of hours figuring out what it all means and ways to leverage it. It's exactly what Microsoft wants. I just don't understand why corporations haven't yet figured out they're waisting a LOT of money just thinking about these rediculous things without m
    • ...if you are the corporate equivalent of the Borg. The funny brand names come from their acquisitions (what the heck Axapta means I don't know...some Danish dude came up with that years before he sold out to Navision...who then sold out to Microsoft). Combine all these kookily-names corporate stepchildren with a team of marketers who are trying to solve the problem of "brand continuity" that almost nobody really cares about and you get the mess that is Microsoft Business Solutions' product line.

      It's not
  • Snaps to Microsoft!
  • I really hope they handle this better than the outlook integration used with their own MS CRM tool. Anyone know what they did?

    It installed "Cassini" which was a sample project when .NET came out on how you could write a web server in C#. They then ran ASP.NET pages through outlook on the local Cassini server. Imagine, all of your sales people, customer service folks and fields reps all having a web server running on their machines. Also, you really had to dig for how this was done - it wasn't something mo
  • The satirists will love this one - especially those that refer to Office as 'Orifice'... ;-)
  • "MS Connects Office and Back-Orifice Apps".

    I think they may have some difficulty complying with the GPL.
  • But where's the snap in to remind me when it's time to go to the bathroom, or to make every press of my insert button cause Clippy to explode? Now those would be useful!
  • Could someone explain to me exactly what the Back Office components are? I've wondered this for a while but never had a really good idea about what the Back Office software was or did. Where you install it. How you use it, etc.
    • Baically Back Office is just a brand for a single-install set of MS Servers. You get a license for a variety of servers but they all run on one machine and they usually come with some sort of master interface for installing and configuring them.

      A company I worked for used Back Office (5, I think) for Windows NT 4.0. It came with NT Server 4, SQL Server 7, Exchange 5 and of course the stuff that comes with NT 4 anyway, IIS and it's accompanying FTP and SMTP services.

      I haven't used it but I've heard and read
      • "I haven't used it but I've heard and read a few things about Windows Server 2003 - Small Business Edition. It does the same thing, just updated the name. From what I understand everything about the server can be configured from a web page interface, including users and security."

        So it is basically servers like you get with every distro of Linux with the added webmin clone eh?

        So exactly what is it that makes this solution so grand again?

        B.
  • Axapta is a company Microsoft bought, along with Great Plains and Solomon Financials, to compete with the likes of Peoplesoft, Siebel and Oracle (which of course, now owns the other two). This is complicated business ERP (enterprise resource planning) software that involves yearly contracts, dedicated servers, etc.

    Basically: Now you can integrate Axapta (or whatever they're calling it now) with Outlook. Considering the amount of setup, care and feeding of Axapta and its ilk, integration with Outlook was pro
  • Advertising slogan: "Oh, snap!"
  • Will there be a Clippy Management Snap-in?
  • IIRC IBM Lotus [ibm.com] already does this.

    There is extensive linking between the email system, calendars, databases, Smart Suite, etc.

    Maybe this is Microsoft innovating again....
    • I like how you guys take the stance that unless you're the first to do something then you may as well not do it, when so much of OSS is copied from commercial software. LOL

      Oh, and Lotus' userbase is a small fraction of that for Office or BackOffice, so who cares about whether Lotus did something first or not? What difference does that make to an Office user?
  • I wonder how the licencing is done... CAL for MSSQL Server, CAL for Dymanics...
  • Yet more tools that allow little groups of idiots and PHB's to think they are programmers and DBAs. It's bad enough where I work they are implementing sharepoint with no direction (they are basically using it as a big, inefficient drive share with no organization whatsoever...luckily for my own team, we continue to use mediawiki).

    This type of thing ultimately just leads to chaos and inefficiency. Thanks, Microsoft.
  • MS and WebCT are releasing an "easy publish" feature (webct "powerlink") to publish work and submit it as homework (or presentation i guess) directly from Office. I'm suprised it isn't part of the latest IIS/Windows Server/Office, but then, I don't typically use Windows... so it may be (I know Front Page can do it)

    At least it will end the phone calls from those business course students who can't seem to manage "save as..." and choosing web page.
  • MS Connects Office and Back-Orifice Apps
    ?
  • Am I the only one who parsed the title as:

    MS Connects Office and Back-Orifice Apps

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