It's been a long way since the old structured menu driven windows applications. Before, the user would be entering an invoice, the inventory for an item would be low and the user would have to go totally outside their current action and remember to go to some other menu to add the item to a provider's purchase order. Today, with the web, the user would expect to see within close access a place to at least mark that item to be added to his next PO.
I'm not sure when this trend exactly started but I noticed sometime ago a change in the way we design web applications. Particularly I love the web designs that have functionality in mind and as a result actions are offered to users in the place/moment where/when they might need it.
I just started adding functionality with this idea for couple weeks now and I like the results. Examples of this are to offer "Your logo here" in a spot where a client could view their logo, or "click here to change your ..." right at the place where users are seeing the results in action filtering something for them.