The Office integration framework will allow Microsoft Corp. to develop deeper levels of integration with Microsoft Office Professional Edition 2003 applications beyond the current Outlook integration that Microsoft CRM—and most other CRM applications—boast today.
One possibility would be the ability to access customer account information by taking that customers name into a Word file. The information would pop up much in the same way that a help screen pops up in Word today, according to Holly Holt, CRM product manager at Microsoft.
The Office Information Bridge Framework includes a client-side component that interprets XML to provide a user interface and user actions; a server-side component that enables Web services to expose the data, views and actions in line-of-business applications; and the Metadata Designer, a plug-in for the Microsoft Visual Studio .Net development system that creates and manages solution metadata.
The IBF is expected to be used more by third-party ISVs and Microsoft CRM partners than by Microsofts CRM customers, Holt said, though she said customers also will be able to take advantage of it if they choose.
"We have pretty deep Office knowledge in our team," Holt said. "We can do the heavy lifting for the customers."