10th September 2013
Microsoft Office is one of the most popular software packages in history. When it was first released, Office included Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Although it offers a number of other programmes now, they are still the most used. Ironically, it was first released for use on Mac in 1989 with the Windows version released the following year. Due to its being bundled with Windows, Office quickly became the standard productivity suite in offices everywhere. Since its first version, Office has come a long, long way – and the world around it has changed too.
Today, Office is still prevalent, but it has a lot more competition. As such, the product has evolved to meet the challenges of competition from others and of the changing world in which it now exists. Perhaps the biggest impact on Microsoft Office over the past 20 years has been the emergence of the Web. Today, we expect to co-create, collaborate, share and reversion our documents as seamlessly as possible. Microsoft’s integration of Office 2013 with SharePoint and SkyDrive (soon to be ‘nee SkyDrive’) is testament to this and reminds us just how powerful these tools can be when used together.
Fundamentally, the Microsoft Office suite of products is about creation whilst Sharepoint is about collaboration. Office 2013 allows users to save straight to SharePoint so that documents can be shared with and worked on more easily with other users. This is ideal for enterprise businesses that are using SharePoint, reducing the need to send documents back and forth via email – and therefore also reducing the proliferation of document versions.
Once documents are saved in SharePoint, they can be edited and annotated by other users and then easily shared once they are complete. SharePoint includes all the sharing functionality that you would expect and its integration with your address book means that you won’t have to go looking for the contacts you need.
Furthermore, by saving a document to SharePoint you are both backing it up on the cloud and making it accessible from anywhere. Anyone who has lost files when their computer has packed in will know the importance of backing up files – using SharePoint Online or a server installation of SharePoint for storing documents will reduce the chance of your losing data.
And when you want to access your documents, the dawn of mobile data, proliferation of devices and SharePoint mobile apps mean that you can easily view and edit them regardless of where you are.
Microsoft now offers cloud-based and non-cloud versions of both Office and SharePoint – and it’s likely that the cloud-based version of both will be pushed increasingly. But even the non-cloud versions are highly integrated nowadays and make collaboration on documents a simple process.
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