Office 2016

 In News and Events, Tech Tuesday

By now many people may be aware that Microsoft’s new Office 2016 shipped last last month, September 22nd – yes, 2015!

What’s new?  Well Office 2016 has been built from scratch, with the “Cloud” and mobile devices in mind.

In terms of recognisable brand new features, there is not a a lot of obvious stuff. That’s probably slightly unfair though, as there is some clever new features built in to all the apps, regarding security, privacy, new help features and lots of smarts surrounding email – especially streamlining the attachment process by presenting recently accessed or modified files that you are very likely to be emailing. But the advances in this version seem to be mainly about the approach we take when  working with Office applications. The lines will blur between mobile and desktop. The experience ought to be quite seamless and as you start to take advantage of cloud storage options, and cloud based Microsoft accounts, documents you’ve worked with and preferences you’ve set, will follow you from device to device and location to location.

Cloud computing and “in the cloud” has always been an attractive buzz word. Large enterprises, with their IT support staff can manage it, and IT savvy business people happy to play with the latest toys, apps and gadgets can work with it too, but for the average business, say a builder trying to ensure he keeps meeting his hand overs, and keeps his business viable, cloud computing has been a little bit unattainable. Some new products have gone quite away to alleviating that, like Xero, and MYOB, and even some design tools, but they are often too small, or lack the power to do everything you need. Office 2016 look like being another major step forward in this direction.

The best way to get your head around “working in the cloud” is to focus on the work you’re doing – the “data you’re creating” and not the software you’re using or the device you’re running things on. This is certainly not brand new as vendors like Google and Apple and even Microsoft, with Office 365, have been doing this for some time now, but with each new generation of offerings, these advanced features become more and more within our reach.

The pricing model for Office 2016 will naturally follow on from where Office 2013 and 365 has taken us, with the subscription basis being at the heart of things.

Interestingly, partnerships with many thirds parties, both software and hardware vendors, will see Office available on Macs, Apple and Android devices and also have it interacting with software such as Uber, Salesforce, SAP from within Office applications. This is an exciting progression on what was started with Office 365. When combine with Windows 10, the landscape for small business and cloud computing is within reach and becoming more manageable all the time.

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