Independent Testing Cites Productivity Gains and Total Cost of Ownership Reduction Using Microsoft Office 97 Starts Here

REDMOND, Wash., March 7, 1997 — Independent third-party research shows that Microsoft®
Office 97 Starts Here
™ the all-new interactive multimedia training solution from Microsoft Press – can increase productivity, reduce business costs, and provide a quick return on investment for users of Microsoft Office 97.

In independent testing by Texas-based Usability Sciences, users of Microsoft Office 97 Starts Here were found to have higher levels of confidence using Microsoft Office 97 after only one session. In fact, 82 percent of users tested said that Microsoft Office 97 Starts Here made it easier for them to learn Microsoft Office 97, and 76 percent reported an increase in overall productivity – a key factor for organizations seeking to decrease the total cost of PC ownership.

“This data demonstrates one of the primary goals we set in developing Microsoft Office 97 Starts Here – to help users be more productive, get more out of their software, and discover the features that will help them focus on their work,” said Bob Herbold, Executive Vice President, and Chief Operating Officer, Microsoft Corporation.

Evidence Points to Cost Savings and Increased Productivity

Recent Gartner Group Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) studies have found that end-user support and training costs can take the biggest slice out of PC-related Information Technology budgets. Companies spend up to 72 percent of their budget on this category-far outweighing the capital costs of PCs. Companies can significantly reduce those costs and, depending on the size of their organization, save millions of dollars a year by implementing a best practices program of just-in-time (JIT) training products such as Microsoft Office 97 Starts Here 3/4 the most powerful and cost-effective means of providing users with specific training when and where it is needed. Classroom training, according to the Gartner studies, is becoming increasingly impractical relative to cost and amount of time spent by the trainee.

Usability Sciences Corporation conducted its testing with a sample of Microsoft Office 97 users to measure productivity, learning curves, and user preference with Microsoft Office 97. Users were instructed to complete a series of tasks. For each task, roughly half the users used Microsoft Office 97 Starts Here, while the other half were allowed to use online help and the documentation provided with the software. In addition to the significant increase in user productivity, the study found the following:

  • On average, users completed the entire working set of tasks 24 percent faster using Microsoft Office 97 Starts Here.

  • Users were more satisfied with Microsoft Office 97 Starts Here than with online help and documentation.

  • Overall, 94 percent of the users tested said they would recommend Microsoft Office 97 Starts Here as a supplement to the Microsoft Office 97 online help and documentation.

“Based on the data gathered in this study, we feel that Microsoft Office 97 users would be significantly more productive with Microsoft Office 97 Starts Here than without it,” said Jeff Schueler, president of Usability Sciences Corporation.

Availability of and Pricing for Microsoft Office 97 Starts Here

Microsoft Office 97 Starts Here (ISBN 1-57231-303-X) is available now in software stores and bookstores and directly from Microsoft Press at 1-800-MSPRESS. In Canada, call 1-800-667-1115. The suggested retail price is U.S. $29.99 ($39.99 in Canada). Reseller prices may vary, and shipping and handling charges will apply for direct orders. Also available areMicrosoft Windows® 95 Starts Here, Microsoft Windows NT®
Workstation 4.0 Starts Here,
and the forthcoming Microsoft Office 97 Small Business Edition Starts Here. License pricing for all Starts Here products is available through the Microsoft Select and Open license programs.

Microsoft Press is the publishing division of Microsoft Corporation and the leading source of up-to-date information about Microsoft products and related technologies. Millions of users rely on a complete line of world-class Microsoft Press® computer books and multimedia training and reference tools. Titles ranging from self-paced tutorials for first-time computer users to advanced technical references and programming guides for computer professionals are distributed to book and software retailers worldwide. Consumers in the United States can also order directly from the publisher at 1-800-MSPRESS. For more information and news about Microsoft Press products, visit our site on the Internet at http://www.microsoft.com/mspress/ .

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (NASDAQ
“MSFT”
) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.

Microsoft, Microsoft Press, Starts Here, Windows, and Windows NT are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries. Other products and company names mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

For More Information, Press Only:

Chris Niccoli, 206-936-2810, Fax: 206-936-7329

E-mail: cnicco@microsoft.com

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