Microsoft Rolls Out Office 2016: It's All about the Teamwork
Redmond has just released its Office 2016 productivity suite. The apps add to Office 365, Microsoft's cloud-based subscription service, which now offers new and improved services built for team productivity.
Office 2016 upgrades Office desktop apps for Windows. The productivity suite includes Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook, OneNote, Project, Visio and Access. Microsoft is encouraging customers to access the apps through Office 365, which offers continual updates for use across multiple devices. Office 365 also offers services like OneDrive online storage, Skype for Business, Delve, Yammer and enterprise-grade security features.
“The way people work has changed dramatically, and that’s why Microsoft is focused on reinventing productivity and business processes for the mobile-first, cloud-first world,” said Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft. “These latest innovations take another big step forward in transforming Office from a familiar set of individual productivity apps to a connected set of apps and services designed for modern working, collaboration and teamwork.”
Taking Office for Granted?
Microsoft is billing Office and Windows 10 as "the most complete solution for doing." Beyond the traditional productivity suite, customers using Windows 10 can tap into Sway to create presentations while Office Mobile apps on the platform work to keep road warriors and remote workers productive, working with Continuum to let users operate smartphones like PCs. Windows Hello lets users log on to Windows and Office 365 at the same time and Cortana interfaces with Office 365 to help users prepare for meetings. Microsoft said Outlook integration is coming in November.
Office 2016 was built with teamwork in mind. One example is the co-authoring feature, which is now available in Word, PowerPoint and OneNote desktop software. Co-authoring allows real-time typing in Word that lets users see others’ edits as they make them, and the Skype in-app integration lets users tap into IM, screen share, talk or hold video chats within Office documents.
Office 365 Groups are now part of Office 2016, helping to drive a team experience in the productivity suite. Meanwhile, Office 365 Planner gives teams tools to create new plans, organize and assign tasks, mark deadlines, and update statuses.
Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group, told us people tend to take Office for granted. That may change this time around as this update appears mostly focused on collaboration. He said one of the biggest improvements is in the offering's Planner Hub, which provides an excellent tool to manage projects.
"One of the most powerful tools is Sway, which creates an interesting blend across Office and likely is an early look at the future of applications like this," Enderle said. "Increasingly, buyers will likely choose the subscription path, which has a low entry cost and comes with stronger support. Since much of the growing value comes from the connections the product has to the cloud, taking the cloud path should be increasingly harder to avoid."
Focus on Security
Office 2016 apps with Office 365 also provide the most secure Office yet, said Kirk Koenigsbauer, corporate vice president for the Office Client Applications and Services team at Microsoft, in a blog post.
"We are adding built-in data loss prevention to significantly reduce the risk of leaking sensitive data by giving IT admins tools to centrally create, manage and enforce policies for content authoring and document sharing," he said. "Multifactor authentication ensures secure access to content anywhere when employees are away from the corporate network. We are also adding information rights management to Visio."
Later this year, Microsoft will enable enterprise data protection in Windows 10, with support in Office Mobile. Koenigsbauer said this allows more secure corporate content sharing across corporate managed apps and network and cloud locations, which prevents inadvertent content sharing outside corporate boundaries.
The new Office 2016 apps are available in 40 languages and require Windows 7 or later. Office 365 subscribers can choose to download the new Office 2016 apps as part of their subscriptions. Automatic updates will begin rolling out to consumer and small-business subscribers in October, and to commercial customers early next year. Office 2016 is also available today as a one-time purchase for both PCs and Macs.
Posted: 2015-09-27 @ 1:12am PT
The new Office is great! It even offers a free subscription for students with the entry of a student email address! I am so glad that going to school is rewarded by such a large company.