Office 2.0

Office 2.0 which is using productivity suite software from the web versus off your PC, just took a huge step into the enterprise. Google and Salesfore.com have teamed up to tie in Google docs with Salesforce.com’s CRM software.

Why is this such a big deal?

  • Two major players are joining forces to create a new way for the enterprise to collaborate. Up until now Office 2.0 has been just a good idea. Now it has a truly functional use.
  • The technical method used by this combination is an example of an alternate model compared to traditional sharing of data between applications. They are separate and live their own lives but are joined by API’s. This allows them and others to expand on this basic ‘mashup’.
  • Like many other Web 2.0 initiatives this one will spread through the grass-roots. When a few folks start using this in a company, others will be quick to join them in order to collaborate. MS-Office may remain the corporate standard for awhile, but Google Apps will become the working software of choice.
  • This strikes a blow to the Microsoft dominated Office Suite market. Google Apps may not be as feature rich as a full MS-Office Suite Pro but for most of us it works well. When I worked in IT there were times when our clients were overwhelmed when using the complex and bloated MS software we provided them. Light use really demanded ‘Lite’ apps. Until the emergence of products such as Google Apps this wasn’t always available.
  • In reseller markets – often called ‘the channel’ – this will be a major milestone. Microsoft resellers take their profit from the units they sell. Either from the physical shrink wrap or from volume licences. When software is free, where does the money come from? In the open source world it comes from implementation, training and customization. Expert services which are billed back to the client. Gartner calls Google a ‘disruptive technology’ and this is where major disruption will occur. Resellers will go bankrupt if they don’t change their model and deliver services versus just hard goods.
  • IT departments will need to grasp this new concept or face taking a beating from their clients. Just like the PC (Apple or IBM) from twenty-five or thirty years ago, the folks doing the work will bring this new technology into the office and eventually demand that the IT department support it. If the CIO or IT managers ignore this change or even actively resist it they will lose support from and eventually the respect of the workers of the corporation. As we experienced with personal computers, IT managers will wake up one day and find themselves surrounded.

Truly an exciting announcement.

Dean

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