The element of Microsoft Office System 2007 that i am responsible for  includes features geared towards collaboration and data sharing. As such, Microsoft Office 2007 features server components for applications such as Excel, which work in conjunction with Windows Sharepoint Services, to provide a collaboration platform. SharePoint works with Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007, which is used to host a SharePoint site. Excel server exposes Excel Services, which allows any worksheet to be created, edited and maintained via web browsers. it features Excel Web Access, the client-side component (see earlier post on the differences in the Office SKU’s) which is used to render the workseet on a browser, Excel Calculation Service which is the server side component which populates the worksheet with data and perform calculations, and Excel Web Service that exposes Excel functionalities as individual web services. Sharepoint can also be used to host Word documents for collaborative editing, by sharing a document. SharePoint can also be used to hold PowerPoint slides in a Slide Library, from which the slides can be used as a formatting template. It will also notify users of a slide automatically in case the source slide is modified. Also by using SharePoint, Powerpoint can manage shared review of presentations. Any SharePoint hosted document can be accessed from the application which created the document or from other applications such as a browser of Microsoft Office Outlook.

Microsoft Office 2007 also includes Groove, which brings collaborative features to a peer-to-peer paradigm. Groove can host documents, including presentations, workbooks and others, created in Microsoft Office 2007 application in a shared workspace, which can then be used in collaborative editing of documents. Groove can also be used in managing workspace sessions, including access control of the workspace. To collaborate on one or more documents, a Workspace has to be created, and then those who are to work on it have to be invited. Any file shared on the workspace are automatically shared among all participants. The application also provides real-time messaging, including one-to-one as well as group messaging, and presence features, as well as monitoring workspace activities with alerts, which are raised when pre-defined set of activities are detected. Groove also provides features for conflict resolution for conflicting edits. Schedules for a collaboration can also be decided by using a built-in shared calendar, which can also be used to keep track of the progress of a project. However, the calendar is not compatible with Microsoft Outlook.

The 2007 Microsoft Office System, also known as Microsoft Office 2007, is the most recent version of our productivity suite. Formerly known as Office 12 in the initial stages of the beta cycle, we are scheduled to be make the suite available to volume license customers on November 30, 2006, with general availability following in early 2007. Office 2007 contains a number of new features, the most notable of which on the surface of it is the entirely new graphical user interface called the Ribbon, replacing the menus and toolbars that have been the cornerstone of Office since its inception.

Office 2007 also includes new applications and server-side tools which is where the real changes have been made. Chief amongst these is Groove, a collaboration and communication suite which was originally developed by Groove Networks before being acquired by Microsoft in 2005. Also included is Office Sharepoint Server 2007, a major revision to the server platform for Office applications, which supports “Excel Services”, a client-server architecture for supporting Excel workbooks that are shared in real time between multiple machines, and are also viewable and editable through a web page.

My earlier posts on the the Versions and SKU’s covers the capabilities in more detail and details the main solution areas we address such as Content Management, Enterprise Project Management, Business Inteligence and Electroinc forms and Automated workflow.

Veggies, Vegans, Carnivores the lot – By offering suites that include tailored sets of applications and features, the 2007 Microsoft Office system helps address the unique needs of an organization and its employees- whatever their appetite might be for our technology. The volume-licensing suites, Office Standard 2007, Office Professional Plus 2007, and Office Enterprise 2007, all boast features and applications that support information rights management, integrated content management, and customized electronic forms – with varying degrees of integration. In addition, the variations in included applications allow organizations to license a software suite with the specific tools users need to perform key tasks and i hope my previous posts have clarified what you get with what and more importantly what you don’t!

While Office Standard 2007 enables users to participate in document-based processes and simple collaboration, Office Professional Plus 2007 and Office Enterprise 2007 in conjunction with Office SharePoint Server and other Office Servers provide advanced functionality that supports sophisticated collaboration and the ability to define and initiate business processes. The decision about which suite or suites are best suited to a particular organization should be based on an understanding of the business needs and collaborative style of the organization and its employees, as well as on the applications and functionality available to meet those needs. The office system 2003 was a big step forward but the integration and added functionality within this release is streets ahead. I’m really excited about some of the stuff you acheive OOTB and look forward to working with organisations over the coming years to help them get the most from it!

The 2007 release includes sophisticated IRM capabilities and policy controls designed to help organizations safeguard digital information from unauthorized use. Through integration with Windows Rights Management Services (RMS) for Microsoft Windows Server 2003, these IRM features enable information workers to define exactly how recipients can use the information contained in Microsoft Office documents.

Specific features include:

·     Information Rights Management. In conjunction with Windows RMS, the IRM features of the 2007 release enable users to define exactly who can open, modify, print, forward, and/or take other actions with the information in Microsoft Office documents.

·     Policy Statements. Organizations can create policy statements for specific e-mail message types and embed these statements in the e‑mail message. Policy statements can instruct the reader how to handle the email message content or serve as a flag to trigger Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 to process custom-defined rules. Table 2:  Information Rights and Policy Management Capabilities 

Capability

Microsoft Office Standard 2007

Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2007

Microsoft Office Enterprise 2007

Create IRM protected documents and e-mail messages. Grant access and editing permissions and apply policy templates to protected content.*

  P P

Read and use IRM-protected documents and e-mail messages, given appropriate rights.*

P P P

Apply policy statements to e-mail messages before sending.*

  P P

Read policy statements associated with received e-mail messages.

P P P
*Requires Windows Rights Management Services for Windows Server 2003.

The 2007 release streamlines data collection through integration between InfoPath 2007 and the core applications. Electronic forms can be presented as standalone forms in the InfoPath 2007 client or in the browser, imported into Groove 2007 workspaces, embedded in Document Information Panels and Task Panes, or embedded in Outlook 2007 e-mail messages so colleagues can complete forms without leaving the familiar Outlook environment. With InfoPath 2007 and Microsoft Office InfoPath Forms Services, organizations can also extend electronic forms solutions outside the corporate firewall, enabling customers, business partners, and mobile or remote users to complete electronic forms using many different Web browsers and mobile devices.

Features that take advantage of InfoPath 2007 forms include:

·     E-Mail Forms. The ability to embed an InfoPath form within an Outlook 2007 e-mail message provides a fast, efficient way to collect information.

·     Developer enhancements. Enhanced development capabilities enable developers to display richer content, including InfoPath forms, within custom Task Panes.

·     Document Information Panel. Support for InfoPath forms within the new document Information Panel enables organizations to define custom document properties and to initiate business processes from within a document based on those document properties.

Table 4:  Advanced Support for Electronic Forms Capabilities

Capability

Microsoft Office Standard 2007

Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2007

Microsoft Office Enterprise 2007

Complete, collect, and organize InfoPath 2007 e-mail forms in Outlook 2007.*

  P P

Host embedded, fully customizable InfoPath forms in Word 2007, Excel 2007, and PowerPoint 2007.*

  P P

Complete forms in Programmable Task Panes.*

  P P

Complete custom fields and execute custom business logic in Document Information Panel forms.*

  P P
*These capabilities require that InfoPath 2007 be installed on the client computer. Office Professional Plus 2007 and Office Enterprise 2007 include InfoPath 2007. Organizations that license other suites can purchase and install InfoPath 2007 separately.

In conjunction with SharePoint Server 2007, the Integrated Content Management capabilities of the 2007 release provide secure access to business information through a number of differentiated features and capabilities, including integrated document workflow, PowerPoint slide libraries, label and barcode attachment, and the newReport
Center portal.

·     Workflow. The workflow capabilities of the Microsoft Office applications and SharePoint Server 2007 support sophisticated document life cycle and enterprise content management. Integration between the Office applications and SharePoint Server 2007 allows users to initiate review and approval workflows, simplifying content review and approval processes, and reducing time spent managing documents through their life cycles. For documents stored in a SharePoint library with an associated workflow template, users can initiate the workflow process from the File menu in the Office application or from a browser-based interface.

Office SharePoint Server 2007 includes user-configurable workflow templates that can guide review and approval processes. Developers can also use Microsoft Visual Studio® or Microsoft Office SharePoint Designer 2007 to define custom workflows, create document-handling processes, help users collaborate through portals and workspaces, and connect users to information in enterprise business systems.

·     PowerPoint Slide Libraries. SharePoint Server 2007 provides centralized storage for presentations and individual slides. PowerPoint Slide Libraries enable users to easily repurpose existing content and build presentations from existing slide sets, reducing the need to recreate content. Users can publish presentations to a PowerPoint Slide Library directly from PowerPoint 2007.

·     Report Center. In organizations that deploy Microsoft Office Excel Services, Excel 2007 adds the capability to publish worksheets with full fidelity to the Web, portals, and dashboards, provided by SharePoint Server 2007. The Report Center, a central repository for reports and spreadsheet data, ensures that all users have access to the same version of critical business information. The user who publishes the worksheet can control access to the information by defining what data is visible to others in Report Center and defining which cells can be edited by other users.

·     Barcodes and Labels. The 2007 release facilitates document and records management with the capability to generate and embed barcodes and labels within documents. Text-based labels or barcodes can be generated from document metadata, such as subject keywords or customer numbers. Labels and barcodes are printed with the document and can be updated automatically. 

Table 3:  Integrated Content Management Capabilities

Capability

Microsoft Office Standard 2007

Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2007

Microsoft Office Enterprise 2007

Initiate document workflows and complete workflow tasks from within the Office applications.*

  P P

Initiate document workflows and complete workflow tasks from the browser.

P P P

Publish presentations and individual PowerPoint 2007 slides to slide libraries for later reuse.

  P P

Browse slide libraries from within PowerPoint 2007, build new presentations from individual slides, and get updates when slides change on the server.

P P P
Publish spreadsheets to
Report
Center and specify parameters and viewing permissions for spreadsheets and specific cells published to
Report
Center.

  P P
View and use spreadsheets published toReport
Center from the browser.

P P P

Create printable labels and barcodes from metadata and insert barcodes and labels into Office documents.

  P P

Read, print, and update existing labels and barcodes in Office documents.

P P P

*Certain workflow features require a valid InfoPath 2007 license.

Although it’s not my area of specialism this really is a big deal and hence i am writing this post. I work really closely with the Vista guys in the UK and with Office 2007 this really is a better ‘together’ story

Yesterday we announced the Release to Manufacturing of Windows Vista.  This is a significant milestone for Microsoft and our partners, and one we are very excited about.  

Windows Vista has achieved a number of remarkable firsts, a very small sampling of which includes:

·         This is the first time we’ve supported a broad array of product skus to help address different customer segments – and they’re all supported using a single product image. The same DVD can be used to install any of the product images.

·         It is truly a worldwide release. For the first time we released Windows simultaneously in 5 languages! In fact, French, Spanish, and Japanese signed off before English, which is also an amazing first. 18 languages will be available at the general launch in January. We will ship 32 language editions within 100 days of US English RTM. And when we’re done, Windows Vista will be available in over 100 languages.

·         Windows Vista supports more hardware than ever. Hundreds of OEMs and thousands of systems builders will pre-install Windows Vista, which will have more than 50% more device drivers inbox at RTM than Windows XP had, plus thousands more will be on Windows Update before general availability.

·         Windows Vista is the most tested release ever. This is the first Microsoft product that has incorporated the Secure Development Lifecycle from the beginning, and has employed stringent quality gates for each release milestone.

·         We’ve had millions of downloads of the pre-release versions, and there are already over 60,000 machines at Microsoft running Windows Vista—more than any prior Windows release at RTM.

·         This is the first time that customers will be able to deploy worldwide on diverse hardware all with a single IT-managed image. And it’s the first time that this image can be serviced offline.

·         And because of the great improvements in deployment tools, it’s the first time that leading OEMs will be able to drive their mission-critical manufacturing process for building and configuring machines using only inbox tools. Windows Vista deploys Windows Vista!

·         Windows Vista is the fastest installing version of Windows when installing on then current generation hardware. Install times of Windows Vista on normal desktop class hardware regularly clock in at between 15 and 20 minutes.

We’ve received very positive reviews in the press. Here’s what they’re saying:

·         The long wait for Microsoft’s next operating system, Windows Vista, is almost over. Dramatically redesigned, the new OS features tighter security, slicker visuals and friendlier—one might be tempted to say Mac-like—applications for managing photos, movies and music. –Wilson Rothman, TIME

·         If all Windows users were running Vista, the world would be a much safer place. –Larry Seltzer/eWEEK

·         As to Microsoft (Windows) Vista, bravo. … It brilliantly and intuitively lets one use a PC with extreme efficiency and/or enjoyment. –James Coates/Chicago Tribune

·         One of Vista’s biggest promises and one of the best inducements to want it now – is to help you regain the upper hand in the battle against information overload. –John Clyman/PC Magazine

·         With Vista, Microsoft has made significant investments in connecting people to information so they could work in smarter ways, which is essential for the enterprise. –Peter Galli and David Morgenstern/eWEEK

·         There are a lot of things in Vista for the enterprise that are compelling. You have security, management, robustness, fewer reboots…. I think a lot of people will refresh their desktops, servers and applications. –Peter O’Kelly, an analyst with Burton Group in Network World

 

Office 2007 products will be available at retail early in 2007, so you’ll be able to get your hands on them soon. Business customers will be able to get Office 2007 through the volume licensing program before the end of the year.

If you’re running the Beta 2 Technical Refresh, the good news is that you can keep using that build for quite some time: the client build expires on March 31, 2007, and the server products expire on May 15, 2007

officeprobox_thumb.jpg

It was announced yesterday that the Office team has completed its development work on the 2007 Microsoft Office system – our most important release of Microsoft Office in more than a decade. 

The release of the 2007 Microsoft Office system is a milestone event for the Microsoft Business Division and Microsoft. It is the most significant release of the Office system since Office 95 in terms of its scope, the level of deep customer research conducted to help our users get better results faster, and the user feedback we received to improve it.  Over 3.5 million beta testers and data from nearly 150 million user sessions helped shape and strengthen this release.  Simply put, the 2007 Microsoft Office system ushers in an enormous opportunity to help information workers be more productive everywhere. It will be available to our volume license business customers later this month and will be broadly available to consumers early next calendar year.  As you know, we will soon release Windows Vista and Exchange Server 2007. In combination with the 2007 Microsoft Office system, these products are nothing short of breakthrough – their combined innovations will amplify the impact of people everywhere. Beginning later this month we’ll be launching them to our business customers through an orchestrated wave of over 250 business availability events. Please visit the business value launch homepage today to learn more.   

There has been tremendous internal adoption of our earlier betas – over 53,000 Microsoft machines are running pre-release versions of Office today.

On December 5th we are seeing the Launch event to our business comunity in the UK of Exchange, Vista and Office 2007 which stands to be an awesome event with some great speakers.