According to a new Forrester report, The Next Wave of Oﬃce Productivity by Sheri McLeish with Matthew Brown and Joseph Dang, Microsoft Office continues to dominate both in the enterprise and at home to no surprise. However, changes are affecting enterprise productivity strategies, such as Web 2.0, enterprise 2.0, and the consumerization of IT. Many enterprise workers use products like the iPhone and YouTube at home and they have expectations at work for similar functionality either through these tools or enterprise versions. As a loyal Mac. iTunes, and iPhone user who is still attached to Office, I was interested in where all these tools are going and appreciated getting a review copy of the report.
The report indicated that though most enterprises have long-term plans to continue using Office, alternative productivity tools will remain in the mix by leveraging the tools employees access for do-it-yourself technologies, such as those through mobile devices and the cloud. These evolving productivity tools will help enterprises transform to a fit-to-purpose approach to productivity, establishing the foundation for the next wave of productivity that's focused on aligning tools with employee needs. In the words of the report, “The next wave of productivity will see today’s innovations dissolve into expected features, creating integrated touch points for content-related activities tailored to fit a business purpose or workforce segment.”
They pointed out that the recent recession has driven interest in free or low-cost alternatives to Microsoft Office and has slowed upgrade plans. In the past year OpenOffice.org has seen a modest uptake by enterprises and is now supported by nearly 10% of the organizations Forrester surveyed. Similarly, cloud-based email from providers like Google is finding traction as a lower-cost alternative to Exchange. I covered the email wars recently (see: Email Wars Heat Up in the Cloud). Google’e move caused Microsoft to drop its prices.
Another factor is the growing interest business process integration and automation, another topic I have discussed here (see for example: Building Enterprise 2.0 into the Product Development Process). As enterprises increasingly use collaboration platforms like SharePoint and the best of breed players, they will (or should) increasingly seek to integrate business content and processes in an effort to move from simple content storage to content workflows. I see this as what needs to be done to really make use of the enterprise 2.0 approach and tools. In a similar way, the only successful KM efforts were aligned to work processes.
There is much more in the report and I found it very useful. For example, the majority of people surveyed as a background for the report viewed alternatives to Microsoft Office as complementary, rather than replacements. In this light, many tools, including Microsoft Office 2010, are adding social computing capabilities. Other tools such as those from Google, IBM, and Novell are moving in the same direction.