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Its been a busy few weeks (even the one I was on holiday for).  We have closed out the beta and Rapid Deployment programmes for Office 12 now and have selected the customers and partners who will be working with us on solution stories for launch.  I am really looking forward to telling you more about those as we get into the projects and get clearance to talk about how Office 12 is delivering business value at these customers.  The portfolio of customers includes a range of key vertical sectors, company sizes and different products and scenarios.  We have some very big names and some small (but perfectly formed) small biz stories to come.  With a strong selection of partners, we are looking in great shape for the activities over the next year and beyond.

On a different note, I must enthuse about my weekend O12 experience.  I liked Adrian Savage's post about avoiding what he calls "stressmas" so here is my O12 tip to that end.
I don't know how you cope with the Christmas preparation but the two jobs I must complete before I can relax and get festive are my wife's presents and the Christmas card dispatch.
The first is going pretty well this year (can't say any more just in case she takes a sudden interest in my blog) but we were definately a bit behind schedule on the cards - a lag which Office 12 enabled me to catch up in one Sunday afternoon!

First knock up a newsletter.  So what's happened this year?  A quick chat capturing stuff in OneNote 12 made it a cinch to organise, move it about and make a short piece on our news.
Next
 - Publisher 12 - what a great application this is!  I must confess I never really bothered with it before but it was just so easy to pick the kind of publication I want, try out a few designs and colour pallettes until I was happy.  Browse through our holiday snaps stored on the kitchen media centre over the wireless network, stick one in the corner.  Sign our names on the tablet in OneNote and paste them onto the bottom of the publication.  Just sooo easy.  It is dead smart about creating different sizes (larger print versions for the olds) and remodels the text to make sensible use of the space but without the feeling that its taking control. 
The clean, spacious UI of Outlook 12 made the job of select the contacts easy using the address card view - with the easy access colour coded categories to filter the list. 

Even better than that was the absolutely seamless mailmerge in Word 12.  Click on the "Mailings" tab and follow the wizard.  Select the labels, select the address body, update etc - just follow the steps - so easy to filter, check the labels look right and print out. 
 I always found mail merge a bit scarey but not anymore.  Christmas cards sorted in one afternoon - looking cooler and all completed faster than ever before. 

I've just been learning about how you can mailmerge into Publisher 12 to create personalised content for each flyer.  Fantastic for a small business - more on that in another post I feel..

So a festive "getting better results faster" from O12 - next job.. tax return :-(
Happy Christmas to you!