I spent the day today in London at an event hosted by Trinity Expert Systems. The event focussed on Microsoft’s 2010 stack of products and my reason for attending was to look at Office 2010 and the surrounding technologies (I was particular keen to see what SharePoint 2010 had to offer).
I thought I would blog about a number of other products that caught my eye, not all of them were new, I’d seen some before, but it was the possibilities that came to mind that interested me.
The first session was more on the “infrastructure” products. I use quotes as these were what they traditionally were, but as you’ll see from these two parts of Microsoft’s System Centre, the end user service is becoming more of a focus:
- SCOM (Microsoft’s monitoring solution). The pictorial view of a systems health from a business service perspective and the possibilities to monitor client machines interested me, it took it beyond what I’ve seen in MOM (it’s predecessor). The possibilities of monitoring the iManage Document Management service end to end, for example. Not just that the physical server is up and running, but that the clients can connect, the IDOL indexer is indexing correctly, the SQL database and application servers are handling transactions nicely, applications load in a satisfactory time etc. For a support team you can see the health of the service as a whole rather than just the servers in it.
- Service Manager. A new introduction and effectively a help desk system. What I liked here was the self service portal idea, allowing the end user to “do it themselves”. So for example, install an authorised piece of software just by selecting if from the self service portal.
A couple of interesting features of Windows 7 were mentioned that I wasn’t aware of:
- AppLocker – in my opinion this allows you to lock down desktops in a much better way. Effectively giving a white list of apps you allow on your desktops, the users can install authorised apps themselves. No longer having to manage the crude Windows XP standard user v admin user, which inevitably leads to people having admin right and a proliferation of unwanted apps in the organisation. It also allows quick but controlled authorisation of new apps.
- BranchCache – basically this is local caching of information. So files from remote locations are downloaded once by the first person and then subsequent requests for the file are from local PC’s rather than from the remote location. I don’t know too many of the technical details but it looks interesting.
Next up was unified communications, I use Office Communicator at work and blogged at the start of the year that I think this is the year for IM in legal. But the integration into Outlook 2010 will need some thinking about. For example, do you need a separate application for communicator? It isn’t necessarily required as it gets integrated into Outlook 2010.
Also something that struck me was whether there was a need for a separate “Person” database (usually found in all firms intranets) diminishes as contact information becomes richer and exposed in many of the 2010 applications (Office, communicator, SharePoint etc)
After lunch it was the turn of SharePoint 2010, this product interests me at the moment. Especially the possibilities for real time collaboration when integrated with Office 2010. The granular way that collaboration works sounds very good, the locking of a paragraph as one party edits it removes the chaos that you got in say Google Wave. Combine this with Office Communicator and real remote collaboration becomes much easier.
I think there is a lot of potential here for Document Management System (DMS) providers to leverage this functionality. Law firms aren’t going to abandon hard core DMS systems anytime soon, but I think there will be use of SharePoint with Office 2010. So there is the real need to control the checkout from a DMS and smoothly transition to SharePoint for collaboration before finally returning that document back into the DMS with version control and audit history (the later isn’t kept by SP2010 when collaborating).
As I start to look at Office 2010 I see more and more possibilities. It’s going to be very hard to scope the delivery of this version of office as it seems to integrate so well with the other Microsoft applications!
Finally at the end of the day we got a quick run through security and Direct Access. This allows seamless access into the business network from your firms laptop wherever internet access can be gained. No more convoluted token/password access! It also ensures that the laptop is covered by all your corporate policies, deployments etc whenever the laptop is connected.
So overall a good day. Plenty learnt about the new technologies from Microsoft. But now, from my point of view, we just have to work out how we avoid getting too carried away with the possibilities for Office 2010!