Why am I at the Office 2.0 conference?


Some people have asked me why I would be going to the Office 2.0 conference, and one even went so far to say “you have nothing to do with the stuff?!” – which is quite wrong.

I am always amazed how people reduce you to one side of your persona and interests (which btw already happens with the mix of blogging and podcasting); but even more that such a question is even asked instead of “okay you are going, what do you want to get out of it”. I find this kind of approach insulting.

First of all, I do have a history with using office applications as well as providing solutions to other users. I always was for driving application towards centralized solutions where it makes sense and to stay away from it if not. Back in the day that was called a host, now this is called the Web. Having worked in controlling (more on the technical side than the “content” side) for 8 years and in sum 15 years in an enterprise environment I always have had connections and interactions with global IT and projects around it.

Working efficiently with applications – especially MS Office and Exchange, SAP and other host applications – was always my goal for myself as well as for my surrounding. It is my strong believe that not the applications are bad but they are misused.

Normal users do not use the rich functionality of all those applications out there – so while an online solution like Writely makes me cringe because of missing features, it is more than enough for 95% of the people.

Powerpoint is not the root of all evil but the people presenting because they don’t know how to use the tools. It wasn’t part of my normal job but I have been streamlining presentations and concepts for a very long time to say this with certainty. (And let me tell you this much: Several people at this conference could use my services as well.)

On the other side I know how people hate changes and just not want so many changes to what they know. You don’t get training in every kind of ugly application on the planet, but you do get a lot of training on MS Office products. Following the UI Guidelines of Windows is key if you want to have users like your product.

And if you want to go native web and online, you need to be sure everybody really has the needed connection all the time with the net. Which btw is not as easy as you may think other parts of the world.

Last but not least I am not so sure that having everything on the net or in the browser build in is really the best way to go.

So why am I here? First I started looking at this conference because I was looking what was happening at the same time as the Portable Media Expo in Ontario because that is the main reason I am here in the states.

But I am not just going to any conference because it is there. The topic itself interested me a lot because Office and how to use them in personal life as well as the enterprise environment has been part of my interest for a very long time. I have the background, the experience and the case scenarios which would be interesting a normal enterprise when talking to this kind of companies.

And most important of it all: It is a conference slightly outside the typical bubbely content of Web 2.0 but more in the real world with real needs and real day to day actions.

I am here to see how much this world has embraced what is happening in my normal surrounding and how the enterprises are slowly opening up to new things happening. At the same time I will play devil’s advocate from the enterprise side towards those bubbely ideas of having everything online which usually not works with what companies are interested in for training and hosting the data.

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