Office 2.0 Opportunities and Challenges

Written by Francis Adanza. Posted in Events, Tools for Startups

Today, while at the Software 2007 conference at the Santa Clara Convention Center, I attended a great Breakout Session on Office 2.0: Opportunities and Challenges. The session was comprised of four CEO’s, one moderator and three panelist. Below is my summary of the presentation.

Question to the panel: What is Office 2.0?

Ken Rudin, CEO of LucidEra
Office 2.0 is not only about collaboration but it is a shift from IT control. Now employees can purchase software and tools without IT’s permission.

Mark Suster, CEO of Koral (acquired by
I believe office 2.0 is a combination of usability, participation, and user control. The issue is to make things more beneficial for the end user vs. the economic buyer. We are trying to make software easier for the end user. IT has a list of benefits that the product has to meet before they buy. Because of this, IT usually over specs the product. Most users only use about half of the features IT requires.

Steve Papermaster, CEO of BSG Alliance
Office 2.0 is about simplicity. The users are not technologist, so we need to design products that are straight forward and easy to use. People get too carried away with the technology and forget that the software is primarily a tool used to fill a need.

Audience Question to the Panel: Is it important for the application to work offline?

Ken Rudin, CEO of LucidEra
For the most part, the only people who want offline access are airplane travelers. Until a customer asks for it, it will not be in our roadmap.

Mark Suster, CEO of Koral (acquired by
I believe the product should work offline because a majority of the people still work on their PC’s. We want to make the transition to hosted as easy as possible for the users. Silicon Valley is very different from the rest of the world. Most people in business work pervasively offline.

Steve Papermaster, CEO of BSG Alliance
Even with the amount of mobility we have today, I cannot get connectivity all the time. The issue is not whether or not the application works online or offline. The problem is do I have access to the data when I need it? It does not matter if I am online or offline, all I care about is having access to the information when I need it.

Question to the panel: Is the enterprise ready for Office 2.0?

Steve Papermaster, CEO of BSG Alliance
The enterprise is not ready for Office 2.0 because of compliance. With Sarbanes Oxley, it will be difficult to justify user restrictions and security issues with applications outside the firewall.

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