Project execution is important no matter who you work for or what department you are in. You have to know who is accountable for what, where information can be found, and keep everyone up to date when things change.
Jennifer Kensok writing again—I’m a product manager for Office (see my last post about a customer using Excel and PowerPivot). Project execution is something I learned a lot about when I first started working here at Microsoft – mostly through rough stints on projects that didn’t execute so well. Since then, I’ve learned a few things about what works, and one of those things is storing team documents on SharePoint, and taking them offline in a SharePoint Workspace. My team today has a OneNote 2010 shared notebook in a library on our SharePoint team site, where we keep meeting notes and bounce ideas off one another or get feedback on plans. With our SharePoint Workspace to take our documents offline, I can work on documents and spreadsheets through SharePoint Workspace 2010 even if I’m offline or away from the network. The next time I’m online, SharePoint automatically syncs the changes I made. So if I’m travelling, say to a glamorous launch of Office 2010, I can make changes to team docs on the plane, sign on to the network at the hotel, and head to dinner as SharePoint Workspace uploads my changes to SharePoint.
People sometimes wonder about SharePoint Workspace’s syncing feature causing versioning issues if multiple people work on a doc at the same time. We’re very cognizant of these types of issues and routinely monitor blog comments to help out (so let us know if you’re having problems). We also hear from customers about how SharePoint Workspace is working for them. Here’s one: hhpberlin, a fire safety consultancy based in Berlin, Germany who my team wrote a case study on for the Office 2010 launch. The company provides services during all phases of construction projects for anything from office buildings to stadiums and airports. As a professional services firm, hhpberlin’s people and their knowledge are its primary assets. With a growing business and a lot of large projects, its employees are constantly looking for ways to work better together and share expertise. Its CIO, Stefan Truthän, told us, “The organization has changed in recent years from a business model that used to be one local engineer on one local project producing one final output. Now we work in global teams, requiring us to leverage expertise across the organization to deliver projects.”
During inspections, hhpberlin inspectors must be physically at a construction site, where they frequently have low-bandwidth Internet connections—or nothing at all. As they perform inspections, they have to enter fire-safety data into documents such as Microsoft InfoPath 2010 inspection forms, SharePoint lists, or other Word documents. They also take pictures to add to the documentation, which they store in OneNote.
When they complete an inspection, they can store all of the information they collected in a SharePoint Workspace. When they connect to the network again, all their data is securely and automatically synched to a Project Center they created in SharePoint. This even works if they have a lower-bandwidth connection, because SharePoint Workspace 2010 only transmits update packets instead of whole files or documents. Stefan explains, “Our Project Center will help us streamline the process of organizing and uploading project data. With SharePoint Workspace 2010 and SharePoint Server 2010, hhpberlin will significantly reduce the amount of time inspectors spend on post-inspection activities back in the office.” This time savings means inspectors can increase their on-site inspection days by 10 to 25 percent, which helps increase revenue.
Like my team, hhpberlin also uses OneNote 2010 to keep project content stored on SharePoint organized. Team members have seen a real productivity boost with the improved search capabilities and new author indicators because they can find what they need quickly and see who has added or changed content. Andreas Dahlitz, a Senior Engineer and Project Manager at hhpberlin, explained, “OneNote, SharePoint Server, and SharePoint Workspace help us share all meeting notes and updated documentation with the entire team. This improves our productivity and allows us to take on more projects.” Using the integration between Office 2010 and SharePoint Server 2010, hhpberlin employees can actually expand their business – meaning more fire safe buildings for the rest of us!
Read more about Office 2010 customers, and look for more “Why Office” posts from me soon.
Office 2010 is publically available today! Everyone on the Office engineering team is very excited about this milestone. We’ve had more of you download and try our Beta than ever before (more than 9,000,000 downloads), and business users have been starting to use Office 2010 since our Business Launch.
Now it’s your turn to use Office 2010. You can download a trial from from www.office.com, or buy it right from the site. Also, as Nick Simons mentions on the Office Web Apps blog, the Office Web Apps are also available for you try on Windows Live by going to http://office.live.com.
Finally, continuing our theme of giving you opportunities to learn how other Office customers are taking advantage of Office 2010, we’ve also posted an interview Takeshi Numoto (Corporate VP for Microsoft Office) did with Roxanne Rucowicz, about how and why her small company relies on Office 2010. Check that out here.
Any questions about how to get Office 2010? Let us know in the comments!
As the excitement about the 2010 world cup in South Africa intensified, Barath Balasubramanian (an Access Engineer) set out to build an application to gather predictions on the results of the tournament from his team mates. Since they all have access to a SharePoint server, he decided to build the application using Access 2010 and Access Services on SharePoint 2010. In less than two hours he was able to create a cool looking application that can not only track the 2010 FIFA world cup predictions, but can also be customized to fit any tournament format and run in IE, Firefox and Safari so it can be shared with anyone that has access to the SharePoint site.
Surf on over to his post on the Access blog to read more about how he created his solution.
I am Jennifer Kensok and I am a product manager in the Office Enterprise business. I work with a lot of customers, and sometimes I wonder if customers could use Excel alone to run a business. From what I have heard from customers, Excel 2010 with PowerPivot is the best bet yet for any frugal companies out there hoping to get the most out of their data while minimizing their costs. Excel 2010 does most of the work for you – from slicing a PivotTable to help filter analysis to spotting new trends with Sparklines, and so much more. And with Excel 2010 with PowerPivot, people can process millions of rows of data and combine data from multiple sources like SQL Server 2008 data sets. Customers are saying that they don’t need IT to do it – they can pull and analyze data themselves.
As part of my work in marketing, I spend a fair amount of time with customers working on case studies of how they use Office 2010, so I get to see Office 2010 impacting a lot of different businesses. In this and future blog posts I wanted to give everyone a sense of the various ways customers are taking advantage of Office. The Mediterranean Shipping Company is a great example of how one customer is already accomplishing a lot with Excel 2010 and PowerPivot.
Mediterranean Shipping is the second largest shipper in the world with 270 ports worldwide on six continents. Mediterranean Shipping’s business is simple in theory: pack lots of cargo onto as few ships as possible, and send them to their destinations quickly and safely. But getting into the details of scheduling 400 vessels and 1.5 million cargo units to get them to the right place at the right time means things get complicated. Mediterranean Shipping uses Microsoft Excel to track all of this, generating hundreds of thousands of documents and spreadsheets. The Chief Technology Officer, Fabio Catassi, has said, “We joke that our business runs on Excel.”
With previous versions of Excel, however, employees at Mediterranean Shipping were frustrated when software performance took a hit from large data sets, and when it took IT too long to pull a report for analysts and decision makers.
Mediterranean Shipping deployed Excel 2010 with PowerPivot as part of the Office TAP, and the new product has already solved their problems with data size limits and performance. Fabio also says “PowerPivot in Excel 2010 helped us combine internal and external data sources in a way that is very consumable for users, in a matter of days. In the previous environment, this would have taken weeks,” says Fabio. “But most importantly for us, projects can be accomplished with very little involvement from the IT department. Excel 2010 puts more power and capability in the hands of the business user, while still enabling us to control access to our valuable stores of years and years of data.”
Read about more Office 2010 customers, and look for more “Why Office?” posts from me in the future! In the meantime if you have any comments, questions, or specific information (pros, cons, etc…) you would like about the customer solutions we showcase, let us know in the comments. Thanks!
Sparklines and a Slicer in Excel 2010
Regardless of where you are in your software lifecycle, Software Assurance provides benefits to help you upgrade to new software, get more productivity out of existing software, and support your current environment. When you are ready to upgrade to a new version of software, SA provides new version rights at no additional cost, deployment planning services and end-user readiness benefits such as online training and home use licenses. To keep your IT department up to date and to help your end-users be more productive on existing software, SA provides classroom, technical training and online training for end-users. And to help you maintain your environment, SA also includes a 24x7 support benefit.
There are over a dozen SA benefits and the amount of benefits your organization has depends on the licensing agreement. The list below highlights the most popular benefits associated with Office.
Click here for a complete list of SA benefits.
Software Assurance is part of a volume licensing agreement. Volume licensing of software makes it easier and more affordable to run software on multiple computers within an organization. There are many types of licensing agreements and with some of them you can also purchase Software Assurance.
Learn more about licensing with the Microsoft Volume Licensing Guide
The amount of SA benefits your organization has depends on the type of licensing agreement. To give you an idea of the benefits you might have, the table below shows eligibility by Volume Licensing agreement for Office:
Select License / Select Plus
Open Value Company-wide / Subscription
Select License SAM*/Select Plus SAM, Enterprise Agreement/Subscription
Home Use Program
24x7 Problem Resolution
* SAM = Software Assurance Membership, which is a organization-wide commitment to license software
Click here for more even more detail on benefits eligibility by license type.
In order to find out what benefits your organization has and to start using them, you will need to contact your SA benefits manager. Your organization’s SA benefits manager is likely in the IT department and will have access to the online Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC) where the exact benefits your organization has can be looked up. If you know who manages your Microsoft licenses, then that person can likely look up your SA benefits manager. The benefits manager activates the benefits in order to make them available for you to use.
Hopefully this gives you an introduction to Software Assurance benefits and the resources you need to learn more about what they are and how to use them.