It’s a common complaint – Why should I buy Office for my staff when they only use 20% of the product?  Ask yourself – even the apps you know best like Word or Excel – how much of their power do you know how to use?  In a time compressed world, who really has the time to figure out how to do that job you only do from time to time?  An interesting experiment is to install Office on a network share with only the minimum features in the middle of a busy department.  Each time a user needs a feature for the first time, it downloads it ready for use.  If you leave that running for a month or two and then check the server to see what features have been downloaded you find virtually every feature has been used but at least somebody.  So even if people only use 20% it will often be a different 20% for everyone.  OK well maybe that’s true but do I really need a new version with more features that I don’t have time to learn?

 

Enter Office “12”, the next wave of the Microsoft Office product set and with it a new user interface.  Think back, if you are old enough, to Word 1.0 in 1989.  Back then Word was nice and simple.  Like my first car radio which had 5 preset buttons, a tuning and volume knob – even my Dad could fully utilise that feature set.  But look at the audio system in your new car these days – cassettes, CD, front and back balance, graphic equalisers, all manner of preferences and clever digital wotnots.  Word 2003 has more than 1500 features – haven’t we grown up?  In the old days you could pretty much work out how to use Word just by doing a quick skim round the familiar file, insert, view etc menus.  Great – but try that with 1500 features still hanging off the same menu system.  No wonder it’s harder to learn.

 

The new user interface in Office “12” is results driven, enabling you to create documents with the end in mind.  Tabs switch in a smart context sensitive way, bringing the features you most often need to the fore at the right time.  New “galleries” provide a visual way of showing how the document might look, previewing the effect on the underlying document as you hover over the styles.

 

With Office “12”, every user becomes a power user, able to create stylish and distinctive documents quickly and without the stress.  Once again it is easy to learn to use the power of the applications intuitively via the user interface with nearly all users reporting a significant productivity boost after only a week or two of using the product.  Training costs are low as a result, returning an immediate benefit to customers adopting the new suite.