1999 Product of the Year: Productivity Software

Microsoft Corp. Office 2000

LAST YEAR WITNESSED several releases in the business productivity arena. From personal information manager applications to project management solutions, almost every vendor had a new product to showcase. Of all of them, we think that the business productivity application with the widest-ranging impact on enterprise customers was Microsoft Office 2000, an easy-to-use, powerful office suite.

The upgrade cost to move from Office 97 to Office 2000 is steep, but we think it's worth it. This release's many new features plus its tight Web integration and collaboration features make Office 2000 a strong choice for modern businesses.

Because of the additions Microsoft made to the installation and administration pieces, Office 2000 has become a pleasure to deploy in large environments and will save your IT staff time and training costs. Its new Install on Demand feature reduces the time spent installing the suite, and the Office Custom Installation Wizard makes it easy for your staff to deploy a customized Office environment to your users.

Looking back, it is obvious that Microsoft did things right with the Office 2000 release. No major patches have been required, and users have not faced the headaches we all remember from the Office 97 release.

Like anyone who was responsible for the rollout of Office 97 to a large number of users, we were pleased to find that the file formats for all of the Office applications -- except Access -- did not change with the 2000 release. And Microsoft included file converters for the Access 2000 change.

Office 2000 is a major step up from Office 97, and its many enhancements have reduced overall ownership costs and improved the workgroup-collaboration experience. For saving IT staff time as well as reducing administration and training costs, Office 2000 was an easy pick for the Product of the Year award for Business Productivity Software.

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