May 17, 2010, 12:23 PM — Microsoft held a major launch event this week to unveil Office 2010--the latest release of it's venerable and dominant office productivity suite. As with any major product release, Office 2010 has a variety of new and updated features, but do any of them offer a compelling reason to invest in upgrading to it?
Google has made some bold claims this week in suggesting that businesses forego the pain and expense of upgrading to Office 2010 and instead use Google Docs as a cloud-based, collaborative, complement to the existing version of Office. The reality, though, is that Google Docs is not in the same league as Microsoft Office.
If you take Google Docs out of the equation, what you're left with is a choice between keeping the Microsoft Office version you already have, or upgrading to Office 2010. The question is, should you?
My PCWorld peer Preston Gralla has already done an exhaustive breakdown of the improved features and new capabilities of Office 2010, so I won't rehash that. Gralla sums up his assessment of Office 2010 "If you mainly use Word and Excel, you might think twice about paying to upgrade or buying the suite for the first time. But if you need to get a better handle on e-mail or want to create better presentations, buying the new version of Office is a no-brainer."
I have three reasons, though, that I think businesses of all sizes should seriously consider transitioning to Office 2010.
1. Social networking. Social networking has quickly become established as a virtually ubiquitous form of communication. The challenge facing most business professionals, though, is how to effectively and efficiently manage the overwhelming volume of tweets and status updates.
Microsoft FUSE Labs has Spindex--a tool which can aggregate various social network accounts and provide a unified interface for managing them, but Office 2010 has something even better for business professionals--Outlook Social Connectors.
A customer or partner might belong to multiple social networks, making it complex and cumbersome to keep track of the various communication threads. Logging in to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and other social networks one by one to stay up to date with current updates and communications from that contact is inefficient.