With the release of Microsoft Vista and Microsoft Office 2007 early next year IT organisations should take this opportunity to review their desktop strategy. Early indications are that both products are significantly different from the current versions and, as with the prior major releases, will involve significant time, effort and money to implement.

While Microsoft assures us there is significant new value in these new products, particularly from “integrated innovation”, none of the IT managers I’ve spoken to were able to translate this into business value. In a recent interview with Peter Quinn, former CIO of the State of Massachusetts, he said when they looked at how staff actually used their desktops “most of the people don’t use all those advanced features [of MS Office] so it begs the question as to why I would spend all that money”. With the trend to web services (i.e., services delivered over the internet) and the availability of MS Office alternatives such as OpenOffice, he seriously questioned the value of remaining on the Microsoft upgrade treadmill.

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Kevin McIsaac

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Kevin McIsaac