In case anyone missed the upgrade message last week, Jeff Raikes, Microsoft Group Vice President, Monday sent customers an e-mail describing the benefits of the forthcoming Office 2003.
One week before Microsoft chairman and chief software architect Bill Gates announces the global release of Office System 2003, Jeff Raikes, the Group Vice President of Microsofts Productivity and Business Services Group, sent customers an executive e-mail detailing the benefits of the updated productivity suite.
Microsoft executives were busy last week, working hard to drive interest in the upgrade, one of the companys cash cows, and to counteract a weary customer base. In his e-mail Raikes said that the end of innovation was "nowhere near.
"This is not to say its not a big challenge. Individuals and businesses all have different needs and different ways they work. But they all share a common goal: they want to leverage technology to help them understand, act on, share and communicate informationthe most precious commodity in the world today."
Raikes also made clear that the Office team was already looking to the version beyond Office System 2003, where it would create new solutions and add Web services for increased collaboration and richer communications.
Customers had also consistently told him that while computers have dramatically increased their productivity and their ability to gather, analyze, share and act on information, their needs continued to evolve, he said.
"They want innovations that can help reduce information overload and impart new, competitive advantages. But there are still too many documents, too many papers and emails, and all of it is too hard to search through when something is needed quickly. Information technology today also must evolve to keep pace with the needs of a more mobile workforce, and the increasingly collaborative nature of information work," Raikes said.
In addition, customers wanted to be able to build end-to-end solutions on a foundation of easy-to-use, inexpensive commercial software and they want technologies that work together and pay for themselves, he said.
"Any new technology investments must show a positive return, not in five years, but five monthsor better yet, five weeks," Raikes said.
While many of the advances in Office System would be obvious to users, one of the most profound changes were not as apparent, he said. The programs in the Office System Professional edition support XML, allowing information workers to save, organize and share new data as XML.
"It will be a lot easier to fill out forms, for example, or to find and reuse text or other data without re-entering it. Productive solutions will be built much more rapidly," he said.
Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.
He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.
He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.
He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.
He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.
He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.
His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.
For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at www.eweek.com.