Document Formats Survey Shows Growing Interest in XML-Based Standards

REDMOND, Wash. — Aug. 27, 2007 — IT managers at large organizations are increasingly interested in employing XML-based standards, including Open XML, among their document standards, according to a study of U.S. and European organizations commissioned by Microsoft Corp. The results of the survey, which polled 200 government and private-sector organizations to better understand which factors drive adoption of open document standards, are available in an IDC white paper.

Survey respondents included key influencers as well as those charged with supporting document standards in 200 organizations (100 in the U.S. and 100 in Europe). Fifty organizations with more than 250 employees were selected from the public sector, another 50 from the commercial sector.

Functional approaches to standards adoption were evident in the survey results, with the majority of respondents citing interoperability between productivity tools, long-term archiving, and ease of transition from an existing base of documents to a new standard as the primary criteria used to evaluate organizationwide adoption of a given standard.

Other key takeaways from this research include the following:

  • Large organizations with diverse business needs prefer multiple document standards.

  • Although IT managers appear to strongly prefer a single standard to reduce cost and complexity of implementation, line-of-business managers closer to the daily needs of business support the desire for multiple document standards.

  • The standards Portable Document Format (PDF), Open XML and OpenDocument Format (ODF) are all in use today, with PDF viewed as the dominant standard and Open XML demonstrating “more traction in the market compared to other XML-based standards.”

  • Companies in Europe with an interest in Open XML expect to be piloting or fully deploying the standard a year from today. Those interested in ODF are more likely to be in the “consideration” phase rather than piloting or fully deploying it within that same time frame.

“Pragmatic business needs are clearly on top of mind when it comes to standards adoption, both within the public and private sector,” said Per Andersen, managing director of IDC Nordic. “The survey results reveal that multiple document standards are deployed today, and that companies see the transition of the existing base of documents as one of the most important criteria when selecting a document standard.”

“The survey validates that organizations evaluate and implement XML-based document formats based on a complex set of criteria,” said Jean Paoli, general manager of Interoperability and XML Architecture at Microsoft. “Although we are glad to see strong adoption of Open XML, we realize that individual organizational requirements vary, and interoperability remains critical. Therefore, we continue to promote the development of tools that offer customers a choice in which formats they can use.”

A full copy of the “Adoption of Document Standards” white paper is available for download at http://www.openxmlcommunity.org/momentum.aspx.

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