To no-ones’ surprise, Microsoft has made 'productivity', 'innovation' and 'collaboration' the watch words of the business market launch of Vista, Exchange Server 2007 and Office 2007.
Speaking in Sydney at the global launch of the application triumvirate, Microsoft A/NZ MD Steve Vamos said that while people were now comfortable with collaboration via the Web, the true degree of interconnectivity was only now being touched upon.
“These products are a platform to collaborate and innovate better,” he claimed. “Innovation is vital to what we need to see in our economy.”
ICT continued to underpin the Australian economy, Vamos said, with the service sector - which accounted for up to 70 percent of GDP – being the biggest beneficiary of ICT enabled productivity gains.
"ICT is contributing up to 70 percent of the productivity and growth in this sector, therefore collaborative tools are essential for growth,” he said.
Tony Wilkinson, director office business A/NZ said this collaborative message, 'amplifying the impact of people' in Microsoft’s parlance, would be delivered through the mainstreaming of business information (BI) tools.
“There’s a revolution coming. In the same way that word processing was a revolution, Exchange and Office will bring business information from out of the back office into the front office,” he said.
Jeff Putt, director Windows Business A/NZ said Vista would boost productivity through its increased system stability and improved search tools. Using Vista’s new tools, system administrators could now track the degree of uptime of each individual system, and track how newly installed applications affected performance.
Applications could also now be launched using Vista’s 'Desktop Search' feature. Typing ‘calc’ results in Window’s calculator loading. Typing ‘word’ results in Word loading. Putt said the new search feature also made greater use of metadata, allowing for quicker and more organised search results.
While Office 2003 had provided the “Lego building blocks” for the collaboration market, according to Putt, Microsoft could not comment on the percentage of users who had actually taken advantage of the company’s collaboration tools to date.
“There is a lower barrier to entry for collaboration tools and is enormous potential, but there has been a low penetration of collaborative tools,” Vamos added. “The next five years will see significant take up.”
Unsurprisingly, security was also a major focus of Vista’s launch, with the operating system now featuring increased granularity, Putt said. Installation of USB keys – a major threat to corporate data security – could now be disabled while still allowing encrypted USB keys to be enabled.
New feature, Bit Locker, currently being trialed by Australian Customs, enabled the encryption of hard-drives to prevent data theft on lost notebooks and the like, Putt said.
To deal with content management and compliance issues, Vista also featured an extensive architecture based on information rights management and a new tool, which, in the advent of a failing hard drive, walked users a data back up.
Users could also look toward a smaller number of service pack updates for Vista. Instead Microsoft would push smaller, but more frequent, updates via Vista’s update tool.
Early adopter program director, Robin Young, said about 86,000 people across Australia had been active in the combined Vista, Exchange and Office trial. This compared to about 10,000 for Office XP and Exchange in 2003.
Microsoft launches Vista, Exchange Server 2007, Office 2007
By Tim Lohman on Nov 30, 2006 2:54PM