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What do we know about the next version?

  Asked By: Thaddeus    Date: May 15    Category: Sharepoint    Views: 861

I’m starting to get this question nearly everytime I go to a customer site: what can I tell them about the next version?

This post will outline the public information out there on the next release of SharePoint.

First, you should know there is a public web site Microsoft has put up for the next version of Office 12. It is at: www.microsoft.com/office/preview/default.mspx. As of this writing, all of the information is about the new XML file format for all the Office documents. But more will be posted there about other aspects of Office 12.

Additional details about the XML format can be found here:
New ISV opportunities are here for the taking. And this article puts Beta 2 in Spring of 2006 and RTM in the Fall of 2006. www.infoworld.com/.../24OPenterwin_1.html.

Secondly, from this article (http://www.microsoft-watch.com/article2/0,1995,1710821,00.asp), we can estimate that the Beta 1 ship date is late August, Beta 2 goes public in December of this year and RTM is in May of 2006. Also, Office 12 will be shipped independently of the new Longhorn client. Other items of note:

Office 12 will work with the Windows 2000 and Windows XP OS
Office 12 will work with SQL 2000
New charting tool will be available in Office 12

Thirdly, business productivity is taking center stage with Office 12. Specifically, Office 12 will address:

Individual productivity
Finding information
Managing documents

If this article is correct (http://insight.zdnet.co.uk/software/applications/0,39020466,39199138,00.htm), then document management is “in the box”, meaning the ability to manage documents across the document lifecycle is likely. Microsoft needs to solve the email problem too. The average worker gets 10 times as much email as s/he did in 1997 and that trend is expected to increase 5-fold over the next 4 years. Hence, new rules will be in place to help you manage the onslaught of information, including the ability to prioritize senders – receiving email from certain individuals and sending the rest to another location or even to voicemail (which is part of the next Exchange release). Finally, the new Office 12 suite is expected to not require any changes to current operating systems, meaning that it will run fully on LongHorn, but also on the older operating systems, such as Windows 2000 and Windows XP.

Other enhancements include:

Excel’s ability to create dashboards and scorecards to help companies quickly understand how their business is doing
Easier design features in PowerPoint
Excel and Outlook will be able to access SAP databases directly
Excel may be able to access Siebel databases directly

Fourthly, better content management will be a part of Office 12. According to this article, www.computerworld.com/.../0, Office 12 is expected to focus on:

Collaboration: make it easier for users to create collaboration shared workspaces and Groove’s peer-to-peer features will be included in this emphasis
Out of the Box Secure Instant Messaging will be “in the box” via Live Communications Server
Business intelligence: Data visualization will be easier via dashboards and scorecards. Then, this information will be shared more easily across shared workspaces and portals, offering better collaboration.
Content lifecycle: centrally defined expiration and archival policies will be “in the box” in Office 12 with a view to ensuring content meets regulatory and reporting standards.

This article also focused on Office 12 being a development platform with the introduction of the new XML file format.

Finally, Internet Telephony and Better Communication is a part of Office 12: http://news.com.com/Office+12+to+ease+lines+of+communication/2100-1012_3-5709451.html. This article mentions that VOIP will be a core part of Office 12. In addition, Office will continue to expand it’s line of server products, but what those products are is still not being publicly discussed.

In short, Office 12 is trying to pull together the phone, IM, email, collaboration, content management and regulatory compliance into one software package that allows users to better visualize, consume, respond to and manage information across world-wide time zones. http://www.winplanet.com/article/2873-.htm



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