New features impress at Office 2010 launch

 

Customers and partners keen on the new office productivity suite.

Microsoft has this morning shared the Australian launch of Office 2010 and SharePoint 2010 for business with select customers and partners.

Early adopters included the NSW Department of Education and Training; respiratory product manufacturer, ResMed; construction giant, John Holland and lawyers, Corrs Chambers Westgarth.

At a media conference in Sydney, Microsoft announced that Australian partners will be able to sell Microsoft Office 2010, Microsoft SharePoint 2010, Microsoft Visio 2010 and Microsoft Project 2010 from today.

Tracey Fellows, country manager at Microsoft Australia said the new releases were "a quantum leap forward.

"We're not talking about innovation, we're showing it," she said.

New features include:

Outlook

• Email manager: groups conversation threads.
• Clean-up: removes non-unique emails.
• Ignore: Delivers unwanted group emails straight to the delete box.
• Integrated voice messaging that transcribes to text.
• Social connector: brings social networking connections to the Outlook feed.

SharePoint

• Co-authoring for Word, PowerPoint and OneNote: multiple users can access one document. Microsoft has enabled users to lock sections of documents, instead of the whole document.
• View and edit documents from the browser without downloading onto on-premise.

PowerPoint

  • Edit and trim videos. 
  • Broadcast slide show on a unique URL for pre-checking.

Partner involvement

David Lewis, global IT infrastructure director at ResMed said Microsoft took him through the functionalities of Office 2010 when it was first made available and "we immediately picked OneNote and co-author as useful".

"Being a global company we have a lot of people collaborating with documents," he said. "Before, six of us would email our version of the monthly report ,whereas now it is in one place."

ResMed worked with service provider Oconics to deploy the system. Other Microsoft partners at the event included Fastrack Technology, Stargate and Dimension Data.

Yoni Kirsh, managing director of Fastrack Technology deployed Office 2010 for the NSW Department of Education and Training. He said the company has "never before been so excited.

"Microsoft have connected it all," he said. "Microsoft gave us access in March last year. You can see very clearly across Outlook, Project and Visio that it's now really consistent across the board. That is the key in terms of user acceptance and user adoption is the consistency.

"With 2007, we only felt we got half of it. There were still a number of applications that didn't get the ribbon makeover and so the piece of feedback we gave was, look this is fantastic, but let's make it consistent across the suite applications."

Kish gave the example of a teacher with 30 students in a classroom each at a netbook. Using OneNote or the co-author function in Word, a teacher could sit at their desk and comment in real-time as a student works on a document instead of walking around the classroom.

"It potentially opens up more one-on-one interactions that would have never been possible," he said. 

Cloud

Meanwhile, Fellows used today's launch to tout Microsoft's cloud strategy.

She said that in future, "every single Microsoft product will be built on the cloud."

"Cloud is not a fad, it is a fundamental and significant generational shift," she said. "We were grounded on the PC, this provides a connected experience.

"We hope we can improve your productivity by redefining productivity on the PC, phone and browser - so you can work anywhere."

Microsoft Office 2010 retail version will be released to retailers on June 15.


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