REDMOND, Wash. – March 24, 2011 – Microsoft programmers wrote millions of lines of code to deliver the company’s latest suite of productivity products, which includes Office 2010, SharePoint 2010, Exchange 2010, and Lync 2010.
Millions of users seem to appreciate their effort.
Kirk Koenigsbauer, corporate vice president of the Microsoft Office Division product management group.
Since its release last spring, Office 2010 has become the fastest-selling version of Office in history, said Kirk Koenigsbauer, corporate vice president of the Microsoft Office Division product management group. “We couldn’t be more pleased with the response,” he said.
He ticks off some stats that explain why:
Globally, one copy of Office 2010 sells every second.
More than 30 million people tried Office Web Apps, the browser-based version of Office, within the first 100 days of release.
More than 100 million SharePoint licenses have been sold to more than 17,000 customers.
For the eighth year in a row, Microsoft Office was the No. 1-selling software product in U.S. retail measured by dollar volume, outpacing games and security software.
Before Office 2010 connected with businesses and consumers, it first won praise from many product reviewers in the press. “At last, the suite that users built,” read one headline in InfoWorld. The Boston Globe called Office 2010 “an update worthy of the networked world.”
InfoWorld writer Neil McAllister asked at the beta launch, “So how can Microsoft improve on a product that many customers considered feature-complete long ago?”
The answer – both McAllister’s and Microsoft’s – was by fine-tuning the user experience, expanding it to the Web, and further embracing mobile.
Globally, one copy of Office 2010 sells every second.
“We set out to deliver the best productivity experience across the PC, the phone, and the browser,” Koenigsbauer said. “That’s so fundamental because the days of people just sitting at their desks and working on their PCs are long gone. Office 2010 is bringing the right capabilities at the right time and helping customers improve productivity and cut costs.”
That’s why Koenigsbauer believes Office 2010 products will continue to win over customers and keep the momentum rolling. He added that those “right capabilities” go beyond productivity tools such as word processing, spreadsheets, and presentation tools. The full productivity portfolio also delivers unified communications, email, content management, enterprise search, business intelligence, and social networking capabilities.
“We believe no one has the breadth or depth to deliver productivity and collaboration services like Microsoft does,” Koenigsbauer said.
‘Everyone Loves a Very Integrated System’
George Hamin, Subaru Canada’s director of E-Business and Information Systems, is one of the many Office 2010 customers who say that breadth is what makes the product suite so valuable.
Subaru Canada, which distributes vehicles, parts, and services to 86 dealerships throughout the country, uses the Office stack together to help drive better communications and collaboration among its employees, no matter whether they’re in the office or on the move, he said.
“With Lync, SharePoint, and Exchange, as you long as you have an Internet connection you’re able to collaborate with your co-workers in real-time with no degraded experience versus being in the office,” he said. “It’s just a really productive way to work. You’re squeezing every minute and every second out of every day.”
Subaru Canada is currently upgrading to Lync 2010, Microsoft’s unified communications offering that is the successor to Office Communications Server. Initially employees were slow to embrace OCS, Hamin said. That changed when the early adopters started bragging about how it integrated with Exchange 2010, which the company had deployed back in 2009.
One favorite Exchange 2010 feature is Voice Mail Preview, which sends transcriptions of voice mails to a user’s inbox. With it, busy employees can quickly figure out if they need to drop what they’re doing to respond to a voice message. Now the integration of Lync, Outlook, and Exchange lets Subaru Canada employees instantly reply to a message by IM, email, or voice or video call whether they’re in a meeting, at home, or on the go, Hamin said.
The Associated Press also uses several Office products in tandem to help its journalists keep copy flowing to news organizations worldwide. Todd Martin, the AP’s vice president and chief technology officer, said the organization used Word 2010 and SharePoint 2010 to create an editorial application dubbed ELVIS – Everyone Loves Very Integrated Systems. Almost all AP journalists in the U.S. use ELVIS to write and file their stories, and plans are under way to roll it out to the organization’s journalists worldwide.
With ELVIS, the AP aims to improve productivity, foster newsroom collaboration across geographies, and simplify software development by reducing reliance on home grown solutions, Martin said. “We’re now delivering a state-of-the-art editorial system offering all the capabilities of Word, but extended to better fit a newsroom’s workflow,” he said. That means journalists can quickly add metadata, preview multimedia content, and track story versions directly in the Word interface without ever having to interact directly with SharePoint.
The AP had previously tapped SharePoint 2010 to build its News Registry, a massive database that helps member publications track how readers use their content. Publishers can then use that data to better meet their audience’s needs and make more informed decisions on how to sell, license, and protect their content, Martin said.
Martin credited SharePoint’s out-of-the-box capabilities with helping the AP build the system on a tight deadline. “The wheels could have come off the bus at any point,” he said. “But we managed to keep it all together and deliver some pretty incredible results.”
Saving Time and the Bottom Line
Office 2010 isn’t just about productivity gains, Subaru’s Hamin said. It’s also saving Subaru Canada money. Before going with Lync, for example, Hamin looked at other unified communications solutions from companies such as Cisco and Avaya. In all cases they would have cost as much or more than Lync, without the cost and integration benefits of a single platform.
“It’s just a lot easier for us to manage and a lot cheaper,” Hamin said. “When my colleagues learn how few people we have running our network infrastructure team, they’re shocked over the number and quality of services we are able to reliably deliver to our employees and dealers.”
LA Fitness Chief Information Officer George Bedar also said that Office 2010 is not only benefiting his company’s employees, but its bottom line.
“We’re saving over $650,000 a year with Lync,” he said. “That’s a fact.”
Bedar is currently overseeing the company move of roughly 20,000 employees from Office Communications Server to Lync. Like at Subaru Canada, there was some initial reservation about the new technology. Now it’s creating buzz throughout the company. “Employees recognize there are so many powerful things they can do to make their jobs easier in terms of interacting and collaborating with other people,” he said.
The company’s IT department has just scratched the surface in terms of building custom applications for Lync, but the handful they’ve created are already helping the company streamline its operation. For example, one application will send club staff an instant message if an aerobics instructor hasn’t been scheduled for an upcoming exercise class and identify possible substitutes to easily communicate with to fill the slot.
“If I had gone with another product, we would have needed a separate team of people to build up expertise to extend these products in ways we wanted,” he said. “We realized that Lync would cost us less money and provide us a development environment that we’re very familiar with.”
Into the Cloud
Koenigsbauer said that he is really pleased with how Office 2010 has been performing in the marketplace. “We feel like we’re winning share every day,” he said. The suite also continues to win accolades; just last month, it captured two of InfoWorld’s 2011 Technology of the Year Awards. SharePoint was named Best Collaboration Platform, and Exchange 2010 was dubbed Best Email Server.
Microsoft is now gearing up to launch Office 365, which brings together Microsoft Office, SharePoint Online, Exchange Online, and Lync Online in an always-up-to-date cloud service. He hopes that Office 365 helps bring the company’s productivity and collaboration software to millions of new organizations.
“Office 365 i s another great example of how we continue to deliver great products and services to our customers,” Koenigsbauer said. “So while we are very proud of what Office 2010 is accomplishing, we are even more excited about what’s coming next.”