The next 18 months is a hectic period for Microsoft customers with research showing organisations are undertaking major upgrades including plans to replace operating systems, office suites, mail servers and collaboration infrastructure.
According to surveys undertaken by Gartner earlier this year, many organisations have started their production deployments of Windows 7 with plans also underway to accelerate the deployment of Office 2010, the latest version of Microsoft's 20 year old productivity suite.
Recognising that these projects require careful planning to minimise cost, risk and complexity, Computerworld Australia has prepared this special feature on migrating to Microsoft Office 2010.
Part 1: Office 2010 new features and benefits
Two decades have passed since Microsoft first released Office for Windows 1.0 which included Word, Excel and PowerPoint.
With 12 versions now under its belt Microsoft is in productivity tweak mode - it is polishing the user interface and design based on metrics from literally millions of usage sessions from anonymous users.
Gartner analyst Guy Creese said Microsoft has made suite-wide changes in Office 2010.
They fall into three main categories: an updated user interface, new editing capabilities, and collaboration features.
Microsoft's design goal of making the product user and document centric served the market well in the age of the PC.
But in the Internet age, document creation has become group centric (created by a group and shared) and stream centric (created over time with snippets of content, generating living documents).
"Well aware of where the market is going, Microsoft shifted the design centre of Office 2010 to make it more collaboration and online friendly," Creese said.
"Conceding that a Windows client limits the audience for viewing and creating documents, Microsoft is now offering access to Web based applications and added OneNote allowing users to create draft documents.
"It is also bolting Microsoft Office 2010 tightly to SharePoint 2010 and Office Comunication Server 2007 R2. "Not only does this support customers wishing to work more collaboratively it supports Microsoft's revenue stream."
By bolting Office 2010 to its backend servers it is more difficult for Microsoft-centric enterprises to replace Office with competing products such as GAPE or OpenOffice.org.
It also accelerates server upgrades. While non-Microsoft products integrate with Office, the integration typically requires add-ons.
Creese said Microsoft Office is the default productivity suite for many enterprises - it owns 94 per cent of the productivity suite market.
Over the page: Office 2010 competition heats up