OfficeRocker!

Strange thinking about Microsoft Office

Blog - About

About Office Rocker!

Thanks for stopping by at my blog.  I'm Darren Strange, the UK product manager for the 2007 Microsoft Office system.  We are launching the 2007 release in January 2007 together with Windows Vista and in the run up to that I'll be talking about what's new and why it is significant in the evolution of Microsoft Office.

A bit about me then. My job has two parts to it - an evangelist for the product and a project manager for the launch project.  The evangelist part means I do lots of presentations on Office and am the lead spokesperson in the UK on Information Worker matters.  I work with customers, partners, analysts and press to better understand the opportunities for Office and help people to understand and get value from it.  The project management part is running a pretty complex, multi-workstream project which covers each segment, audience and department involved in the launch.  I take a special interest in the rapid deployment customers and in the press and analyst outreach. 

Wherever possible, we are using the 2007 release to run the project using SharePoint Server, Groove, Project Server, InfoPath, Excel and PowerPoint in our project office processes.  This means I am hopefully "walking the talk" as we march towards launch.

My background is in Microsoft Consulting Services where I started as an Exchange consultant back in 1997 and later got to manage the collaboration team and then the solutions practice.  This comprised of three consulting teams; collaboration, Internet business and SQL & Business Intelligence.  Before that I worked for KPMG Management Consulting for 4 years which my first job out of university.  Last year I passed my PMI and this year my CIM professional diploma.  I won't be doing any more exams for a while now..

Anyway, do let me know what you think, add comments and let's discuss.  That's the fun of blogging afterall.

  • OfficeRocker!

    Office goes Live 15th Nov

    • 0 Comments
    We often talk about the 2007 Microsoft Office system as being the combination of servers, services and applications. Office Live delivers on a lot of the services piece of this. Yesterday we announced that it was going live in the US on November 15th...
  • OfficeRocker!

    When shall we three meet again?

    • 0 Comments
    Back from holiday (gratuitous picture right), rested and recharged (allbeit with an airplane cold). I should point out to all those who were worried by me showing a bluescreen on the last post that it actually took us about a month to engineer that picture...
  • OfficeRocker!

    recharge my own batteries

    • 3 Comments
    I'm off on holiday for 2 weeks so blog silence will ensue for that time. What should you read into that? well probably that I am sure enough that we are on track for launch and that everything is going smoothly. So have confidence in our timeline. In...
  • OfficeRocker!

    Open XML reaches final draft

    • 1 Comments
    To quote Brian Jones : As I already mentioned, in the last face to face meeting in Trondheim, Norway we unanimously voted to approve the final draft of the Office Open XML spec as ready to submit to the Ecma General Assembly. The GA will then review...
  • OfficeRocker!

    Microsoft Works joins the fight

    • 2 Comments
    The Microsoft Works suite , if you are not familiar with it, is a productivity suite aimed at the low cost consumer market from Microsoft. This year it became part of the the Information Worker business alongside Microsoft Office and as such is now another...
  • OfficeRocker!

    Perpetual motion machine from HP

    • 2 Comments
    the rest of our free kit arrived from HP this week including the extended battery. It's a wedge shaped block that sits under the machine, is very light and you can charge it independantly. Having charged it up, I tried it out today: sorry...
  • OfficeRocker!

    What is the Business Data Catalogue?

    • 1 Comments
    Martin Kearn who is one of the guru Microsoft Consulting Services in the UK team has written a really great blog post on the business data catalogue which he reckons is the best feature of SharePoint 2007. He also presented it to our special interest...
  • OfficeRocker!

    My deskphone is stupid

    • 5 Comments
    Actually my deskphone is probably very clever and I, like most people, just can't be bothered to learn half of what it can do. The thing that is stupid though, is that it sits on my desk right next to a much more powerful computer - a computer with a...
  • OfficeRocker!

    Live writer upgrade and cool flickr add ins

    • 1 Comments
    In case you missed it, there is a new build of live writer. The update has some new stuff: Tagging support Support for Blogger Beta Categories are sorted by name and support scrolling, plus improved support for reading categories from your blog Improved...
  • OfficeRocker!

    the launch is not cancelled

    • 1 Comments
    My days now seem to consist of queues of wild people, frothing at the mouth running at me like some sort of marketing shaun of the dead scene screaming "cancel the launch!". People, hear me, take a chill pill, we are launching and we are on track. :-...
  • OfficeRocker!

    The best marketing freebie ever

    • 7 Comments
    I never fail to be amazed at how motivating new kit is to a techie. I'm also slightly pleased to observe this is still the case for me even though I have clearly lost it and sold out to the crayon-weilding lovies at the in-touch-with-our-feelings end...
  • OfficeRocker!

    Make your data work harder

    • 3 Comments
    Going through stuff I've missed over the last month, I came across this article in computer weekly where my colleague Renaud is quoted. It talks about how successful businesses need to look at business intelligence technology to get more from the data...
  • OfficeRocker!

    Lost in translation

    • 3 Comments
    Chris Capossela (head of the Information Worker business group) was over in the UK today and I got to join him in a couple of his briefings. Chris is a very impressive spokesperson and I learnt a lot listening to him handle questions. We got into some...
  • OfficeRocker!

    Strange Weeks

    • 1 Comments
    It's my pleasure to introduce my friend David Weeks, my counterpart in the Windows Vista team. We are often found demoing at events together. As you may know, we are launching in two stages: to business this year and to consumer and retail in the new...
  • OfficeRocker!

    Coping with change

    • 9 Comments
    Some things change I have a lot of debates at the moment about how hard it will be for people and companies to adjust to the new release of Office. The first discussion usually surrounds the new user interface and how different it is. I'm not going to...
  • OfficeRocker!

    How the war was won: intro

    • 30 Comments
    You might think it a bit cocky to start writing my memoirs of launch before the event but with my memory, I'll probably struggle to remember my name in 6 months (and so will everyone else) so I thought it best to make a start now and claim my 15 minutes...
  • OfficeRocker!

    How the "ribbon is dead" myth was born and died

    • 0 Comments
    Jensen finally puts this one to rest as he confirmed to me last week. It is interesting how these things happen. Thankfully because blogging is a conversation we can sort this out.
  • OfficeRocker!

    Don't cross the streams? No do!

    • 1 Comments
    Maybe you have to be of a certain age to catch that ghost busters reference so ask someone older if it passes you by. I had one of those moments the other day where I realised I had so internalised something that I had stopped talking about it to people...
  • OfficeRocker!

    Blogcast: Tagging in the 2007 Office authoring experience

    • 3 Comments
    Renewing my commitment to recording the demos that I find myself doing frequently, I've recorded this one about tagging. We used to talk about metadata as the term for this - that is data about data - but I've noticed that people now refer to it as tagging...
  • OfficeRocker!

    Ribbon myths and rumours dispelled

    • 16 Comments
    There has been a little flurry of rumours on the blogsphere including the ever excitable slashdot that we have radically changed the ribbon, making it much smaller. Some are saying that we are even backing away from the ribbon or that we received "complaints...
  • OfficeRocker!

    2007 release on the Nov price list, release dates confirmed

    • 12 Comments
    An internal email from Chris Capposela (head of IW) to field sales confirms that 2007 will get added to the price list in November. This is excellent news and a strong indicator of our confidence. That said, usual caveats apply about how product performance...
  • OfficeRocker!

    First Look: 2007 Microsoft Office system

    • 11 Comments
    I've decided to create a new book review category and tell you what I think of the new books. As I'm given books to review by publishers, I'll write a review. Title: First Look at 2007 Microsoft Office system. Author: Katherine Murray Publisher...
  • OfficeRocker!

    Excel 2007 multi-threaded calculation boosts performance

    • 4 Comments
    Some mention of this was made on the Excel blog about the performance improvements that can be derived from Excel 2007 due to the new multi-threading capability but I don't think people are aware of what a huge difference this can make. A quick overview...
  • OfficeRocker!

    Blogging with Live Writer versus OneNote 2007

    • 12 Comments
    Ok so I've had a chance to use the live writer tool now on several blogs. I have used it here on OfficeRocker which is hosted on community server and on fullyvetted.com which is a WordPress blog. So how does it compare with using OneNote 2007 as your...
  • OfficeRocker!

    Blogging tools OneNote and SharePoint Server 2007

    • 4 Comments
    Blogging tools are all over the news today with the release of the new Microsoft blogging tool, Microsoft Windows Live Writer which is now in beta. The tool is really great. I am really impressed by it. You just put in the URL to your blog and does...
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