I’ve had many requests from customers that wished their business users could work with a spreadsheet offline instead of working with their product catalog online.
The primary reason is their master product catalog resides in an ERP system, plus additional auxiliary information that resides in other systems. Some of them pull this information together manually, some have batch tools to do this. The business users massages the product catalog in a spreadsheet. Some of them have sophisticated modeling and calculation macros that let them do what if on prices to see what kind of impact pricing changes have.
So, wouldn’t it be great if Commerce Server 2007 could import spreadsheets? Well now you can via BizTalk using Farpoint’s Spread component: http://www.fpoint.com/biztalk/default.aspx
It is in use by Gulf Coast Seal, one of Commerce Server 2007 early adopter customers, the Farpoint-Gulf Coast Seal case study is available here: http://www.fpoint.com/company/studies/CaseStudy-FpSpreadBizTalk-GCS.pdf
A webcast is available that provides more details, please visit: http://blogs.fpoint.com/?p=73
There is even a Farpoint blog article: http://blogs.fpoint.com/?p=72