Office 14: You Want Roles With That?

Microsoft has talked vaguely about how Office 14--the one after Office 2007--will borrow from the "role model" in the new Microsoft Business Solutions' ERP and CRM apps.

Following up comments he made at Software 2006 a few months ago, Microsoft Enterprise and Partner VP Simon Witts told CRN recently that there is a "clear desire" is to go to a more role-based version of Office. So there might be an Office 14 version for sales people, for example, he said.

Witts might address this more at his Thursday morning keynote at the Worldwide Partner Conference. Or not.

While a reactionary might fear this will lead to even more frightful Office SKU explosion, that will not likely be the case. Sources say the Office group has long considered and worked on a "role wizard" which would expose the application features that you're most likely to use in your given role.

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That wizard had even been considered for Office 2007 (nee Office 12) but didn't make the cut, they said.

That follows on direction given by Microsoft Business Division President Jeff Raikes that Office and the ERP solutions would be growing ever closer in integration.

The overriding goal (aside from more Office and MBS sales) is better user productivity.

Also, it's kind of interesting that Microsoft skipped the Office 13 stage, leaping from O 12 (Office 2007) to 14 (Office 20XX). Who knew they were superstitious?