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October 24, 2005

Giving Microsoft Office a Boost

Posted by David Hunter at 9:41 AM ET.

That Microsoft Office has a “good enough” problem got another illustration in Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols’ review – Why 2.0 Is Your Best Choice:

There are many fancy reasons that is a great choice for your office work. For example, it’s open source and it supports an open format document standard, OpenDocument.

But let’s put “openness” to the side. Let me get down to the nitty-gritty: It’s free (as in free beer) and it works. What’s not to like? is compatible with Microsoft Office file formats and the latest version, 2.0, “boasts an interface that’s much more like the Microsoft Office interface.”

…but let’s get back to brass tacks again.’s price tag: 0. Microsoft Office Professional Edition 2003′s list price: $499 new, $329 as an upgrade.

Day in and day out office usability? For all practical purposes, they’re about the same.

So, which would you rather ‘buy?’

So what can Microsoft do to protect their lucrative Office market? Adding more minor features isn’t likely to do it. The user interface is changing in Office 12, but that can also be viewed as a minus for the retraining involved. As a result, Microsoft seems to have settled on a new theme of linkage of Office with business software products farther up the food chain such as the small business offerings or enterprise offerings via workflow and collaboration via SharePoint Services (WSS) and SharePoint Portal Server.

Building on that theme, Microsoft yesterday announced more upstream linkage – Microsoft Builds Business Intelligence Into Office Software:

Building on the robust business intelligence (BI) platform capabilities provided by Microsoft® SQL Server™, Microsoft Corp. today will announce it has significantly increased and broadened its investment in BI, with Microsoft Office products playing a major role. The goal is to provide a better experience when users access and work with business information from within the suite of applications they already use to work, collaborate and manage their business — Microsoft Office.

Decision-makers at all levels within an organization can use these new capabilities to help drive improved business performance. In support of this strategy, Microsoft will announce that a new business performance management server application, Microsoft Office Business Scorecard Manager 2005, will be available in November. The company also will showcase technologies that will be included in the next release of Microsoft Office products, code-named Microsoft Office “12,” that are designed to help information workers easily find, analyze and more securely share business information within the Microsoft Office System, leading to faster and more informed decisions.

Available Nov. 1, Microsoft Office Business Scorecard Manager 2005 is a new, server-based business scorecarding application. It takes advantage of the power of the Microsoft Office System and extends the SQL Server platform to help organizations broadly deploy personalized scorecards to employees so they can track key performance indicators (KPIs) against goals — all within an intuitive and collaborative environment.

Microsoft Office “12” will simplify the process of accessing and working with business information. Today the company unveiled the following BI capabilities that will be delivered by Office “12” Excel and Office “12” SharePoint Products and Technologies, both of which integrate with SQL Server 2005…

These improvements deliver increased value to Office users, and they also mark a shift in the delivery and use of BI solutions. Where BI has previously been an individual activity, its integration into Office introduces new collaboration scenarios.

And more reason to pay for Microsoft Office instead of a free alternative. More details by following the link and at the Business Scorecard Manager home page.

Update: Related articles -
Will New UI Secure Office Users?
Microsoft Office Isn’t the Only Office Game in Town

Filed under Coopetition, OS - Server, Office, Office 2007,, SQL Server, Scorecard, Servers, SharePoint Server, Small Business, Technologies, Windows SharePoint Services, Workflow

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