Office 2010 has potential to boost the economy

Microsoft is pitching Office 2010 as the product that will help UK businesses return to profit and compete in the global market.

Microsoft is pitching Office 2010 as the product that will help UK businesses return to profit and compete in the global market.

Speaking at the launch of the latest Office product suite, Matthew Bishop, business and marketing officer for Microsoft UK, painted a bleak outlook for the UK economy. "Even though we have the confidence of a new government, we have just sneaked into GDP growth," he said, warning that the UK economy is way behind other countries and sterling will be in quite a dangerous position if it declines further.

But with the tech market finally growing and the PC market about to return to growth, IT will play a role in boosting the UK economy. According to Bishop, Microsoft's customers say they will "use productivity gains to drive their business into growth".

Experts predict businesses will mainly upgrade when they refresh their desktop PCs, but some will use Office 2010 as a strategic platform.

Microsoft is positioning Office 2010 as a collaboration platform based on Sharepoint 2010. To make the most of this integration users will need to work with the Microsoft channel. Jeff Teper, corporate vice-president, office business platform, at Microsoft, said, "Partners will do $6.7bn of business."

Reference customers include BT, which is planning to migrate from Sharepoint 2007 to the 2010 edition to support collaboration across the group. Cancer Research has developed a pilot project with Corporate Project Solutions, a consultancy specialising in project management software. The charity has developed a project management proof-of-concept application using Microsoft Sharepoint, Project Server 2010 and Visio to provide visibility of projects, data visualisation and support the selection and prioritisation of project funding.


Case study: document management at law firm Clifford Chance 

For law firm Clifford Chance, document management is a strategic application. Paul Greenwood, CIO at Clifford Chance, says the law firm has been working with Microsoft Consulting to build a proof-of-concept application that demonstrates how a global law firm could use a document management system based on Office 2010 and Sharepoint 2010, to support tens of millions of Word documents and cross-border access in multiple languages.

The law firm's existing third-party document management system has been unable to keep pace with the Microsoft releases. "We had a delay of a year with Office 2007 because the third-party product was not ready," says Greenwood. This time around, Clifford Chance is working with Microsoft on a Sharepoint system, which gives the law firm the opportunity to migrate the application into the cloud at a future date. This fits in with Greenwood's long-term IT strategy: "By 2014 we want to move much of our IT infrastructure into the cloud. Sharepoint is key."

The Sharepoint tool is already being used as a cloud service by a number of blue chip organisations such as Coca-Cola. Clifford Chance will need to look at the legal aspects of putting confidential client data in the cloud. But with the growth of private cloud providers offering the Sharepoint infrastructure, Greenwood is confident the technical and legal issues will be resolved.


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