Rackspace’s SharePoint team was in San Francisco this week for an invitation-only Microsoft news event featuring Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. In this post, Senior SharePoint Consultant and SharePoint Server MVP Jennifer Mason discusses the news.
Earlier this week the SharePoint team here at Rackspace had the opportunity to attend the Preview launch for Microsoft Office 2013 and Office 365. The event was held in San Francisco and showcased the next generation of Office products.
During the keynote presentation Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer presented a new Office product suite that focused heavily on bring consumers to the cloud and was referred to as the “Modern Office.” This new Office suite is built with the general consumer in mind and is designed to be easy to use, efficient and improve productivity.
Ballmer was clear about the goal of the Modern Office: to have one tool that can be used across multiple platforms for multiple purposes. No matter if you manage a small business, work with a large executive team or have to coordinate a trip for your son’s Cub Scouts league, you have one tool that works for it all. The new Office suite is tightly integrated with the newest release of Windows 8 and is very dependent on having the latest up to date hardware. Since the newest version of Windows runs consistently across multiple devices, such as smartphones, laptops and tablets, users can have a single consistent experience no matter what tools they use to access their content. Leveraging the cloud not only creates a consistent experience, but also simplifies the ability to access content and do so on any device.
Attendees at the event received a Samsung Series 7 tablet running the Preview of Office 2013 and the latest release version of Office 365. After using the table for a day I can say first hand that the added features and tools provide a way for increased productivity and overall ease of use. As I continue to use the tablet I will provide some follow up posts about the functionality as well as any issues that I run into. I was pleasantly surprised with the first day of use and I am looking forward to making it a regular part of my toolset.
Overall, the event confirmed that Office is well on the way to reaching the modern market. Microsoft has adapted its products to match how users naturally work. The improvements make things simple and easy to use, even for the most common actions. The newest improvements are based on the upgrade of the tools and hardware and also are tightly integrated into the cloud using SkyDrive. All of these features, while great, will have other implications and I think time will tell how well users adopt these new changes.
If you weren’t able to watch the live broadcast of the announcement, you can find the link here. I highly recommend taking a few minutes to hear directly from Microsoft about its vision for the new Modern Office. Also, for a more detailed post on my thoughts you can check out my latest publication on CMSWire.
In my opinion Microsoft has really hit the mark on ease of use and general enjoyment for these products.