Conference Notes

Mark Carroll, "Web 2.0 and the Enterprise Office", Mar 19

The final session prior to lunch was presented by Mark Carroll, an Architect, Developer and Platform Strategy Group from Microsoft New Zealand. His traditional focus is the enterprise. He didn’t use a Mac.

The Future of Office Applications
There are 35-60 Office suites available on the market. The future of Office suites will be driven by the market, not by the technology. Technology markets like a certain number of things: existing skill leverage, third party product interop, technologies that do the job well, reliable sources of supply, and technologies that solve solutions quickly. The Office suite emerged over time as more and more tools were added into an integrated box.

The key trend with Web 2.0 is the development of communities and collaboration … eg, wikis, blogs and RSS. This trend is starting to address the lack of capability in addressing traditional office instruments (eg, the office notice board). Mark thinks that Gartner’s three tier architecture — presentation, application and data — misses a “collaboration tier”. The movement to Web 2.0 opens up new possibilities for vendors in this collaboration tier; a vendor doesn’t have to own the entire stack, because new entrants can just as easily integrate into front-end tools.

In the Microsoft view of the world, the collaboration tier includes: document library, Excel Services, forms library, workflows, SharePoint lists, reporting and dashboards.

Key areas of Office systems today: unified communications and collaboration, business intelligence, and enterprise content management are three top things. Under that is a set of services that support these: workflow, search, business data catalog, extensive UI, open XML file formats, and website and security framework.

Concluding Comments
Mark gave a nice summary of the progress of client-based, server-based, and online Office productivity suites. He gave a well-balanced analysis of the three, even given his employer’s vested interests. Good work.

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