On Tuesday of this week, Microsoft launched Office 2013, the latest version of its flagship productivity suite. Forrester has released a report entitled Office 2013: A Breakthrough in Productivity; I had the opportunity to work with some great Forrester minds on writing it. Each analyst brought a unique perspective to the analysis:

  • My work, in addition to corralling all the talent mentioned below, focuses on document collaboration and social. 
  • John Rymer’s work is in the analysis of the new development environment with specific focus on SharePoint.
  • Ted Schadler focuses on the current and emerging mobile experience.
  • Art Scholler provides excellent perspective on the role of Office 2013 in unified communications with a focus on Lync.
  • Phillip Karcher takes a close look at the next version of the productivity suite. 
  • Frank Gillett looks at the implications of cloud deployment.
  • Chris Voce looks specifically at Exchange and provides perspective on the operational environment in general.
  • Leslie Owens provides perspective on search, taxonomy, and information architecture in the new release.
  • TJ Keitt weighs in on broad collaboration capabilities.
  • James Staten looks how Office fits into Microsoft’s broader cloud strategy. 
  • Sarah Rotman Epps provides perspective on mobile with a specific focus on the opportunities and challenges of device support. 

The document takes a broad look because, frankly, Office has become a very broad topic. It requires a lot of deep expertise to analyze all of the capabilities of the ever-expanding Office product family. 

With the release of Office 2013, Microsoft looks to strike three very familiar chords: mobile, social, and cloud. Each has become table stakes for enterprise software and each is vital to Microsoft’s desire to maintain its dominant position in enterprise knowledge worker technology. Microsoft gets cloud right within the context of a hybrid delivery model, and it has the foundation for social with Yammer — but it got mobile wrong with a “Windows Mobile first” strategy.

Another part of Microsoft’s strategy is anything but new: bundle, integrate, and lock in. Exchange, SharePoint, Lync, and core Office applications all offer many significant enhancements, and the integration between Office properties is becoming deeper and more meaningful and is intended to drive investment in a suite of Microsoft offerings.

Key Takeaways From Our Analysis

  • Office 2013 offers an improved user experience across all products. Office 2013 is a major release, and the investment pays off across all of the products in the Office family. One critical improvement is a simpler and more powerful user experience.
  • Integration across the product family drives value. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Microsoft designed each product to leverage other products in the family, and integration is provided out of the box.
  • Integration can also drive lock-in. The deep integration can be powerful, but it also can lock you into a broad family of products. Ultimately, it impedes the ability to bring in best-of-breed products and could over time lock you into a Microsoft-dominated stack.

Forrester clients can access the full report here.