Microsoft has declared that the combination of Windows Vista, Office System 2007 and Exchange Server 2007 have the potential to help businesses improve their productivity by making it easier to manage unstructured data.
Steve Vamos, Microsoft's Vice-President for Australia and New Zealand said falling workplace participation due to an ageing population makes the new software "critical infrastructure" for business, as only increased productivity can help business achieve more with a smaller workforce.
But Vamos added that he believes collaboration tools and the productivity benefits they can deliver are poorly understood by business.
"The penetration of collaboration tools is lower than it should be," he said. "If business leaders understood the possibilities they would be queuing up to buy it."
The new products offer myriad ways to manage data, with SharePoint advanced as the key application though its ability to offer rapid development of intranet-style applications that gather unstructured data so it can be effectively wielded within structured business processes.
Interface enhancements to Office and Windows Vista are said to assist by making it easier for users to find and transform information, while SharePoint has been upgraded to make the creation of intranets easier.
Office has also gained an extensive suite of information rights management features that Microsoft says enhances security by making it easier to set policies determining access rights to documents. That regime can include restrictions on documents stored on mobile devices, reducing the potential losses flowing from a lost laptop. That data can also now be encrypted.
Another security enhancement to Windows Vista touted as major advances included new policy-based administrative features to lock down PCs and prevent the unauthorised installation of potentially dangerous peripherals such as USB memory keys.