Friday, 16 August 2013

Office 2013 - Harbinger of doom

So, as anyone who knows me is aware, I've been testing Office 2013 for our compnay.  And, as everyone who knows that is aware, I'm very disappointed with it.

It seems that the entire design of Office 2013 was tablet focused (yet many of the changes would make using on a tablet more difficult).  I was bemoaning this (among many other Office 2013 flaws) to one of my fellow testers, noting that people aren't going to be able to do serious work on a tablet.  I'm never going to be able to type 60 to 70 words per minute on a tablet keyboard.  I'm never going to be able to design analysis on a 7 or 10 inch screen (heck I need all 3 of my 24" widescreens).

I was stunned when he indicated that he did not share my belief (and it is a 'belief' as I have no proof of what the future will hold).  He noted how he already does about 15% of his work on a tablet.

That gave me pause.  It takes me 3 minutes to type a simple tweet on my 7" Android tablet, and that's with an upgraded 'Smart' keyboard.  That's 9 words per minute.  On my 10" Windows tablet I'm even slower.  And at my age, I'm not going to get much faster.  My fingers aren't going to shrink and my dexterity isn't going to improve.  I'm just never going to be a 10th as productive on a tablet as I am on a desktop.

Which brought me to an uncomfortable thought.  Is Office 2013 a sign that I am rapidly becoming irrelevant?  If I can't work effectively using tools that are designed for a mobile medium, in what other ways am I falling behind the tech curve.  Am I on my way to the same place as many workers from a couple generations ago?  As computers became ubiquitous, and they were unable to adapt, they could not keep pace.  Does the same fate await me?  Is Office 2013 the light in the sky the dinosaurs saw just before the big boom?

At the moment, I don't believe so.

I believe Microsoft has oversolved their problem.  They weren't relevant in the mobile market, so they are literally trying to sink their ship in hopes that it might become a submarine.  Hopefully someone will realize that they are sinking a perfectly good ship, plug up the holes, and continue to service their enterprise customers.  Making their product significantly less effective on the desktop, with the idea that desktops are going away, is the same sort of lunacy that produced Windows 8.  It's like New Coke for computers.

I believe that tablets and smartphones are useful adjuncts to the professional workspace.  At my most forgiving, they provide useful ways for workers away from their workspace to stay connected and complete light work. At my most cynical, they're great for business as they double the amount of worktime that those businesses can now expect from employees:  "Here's your tablet.  Now you are expected to check your email every hour on the hour, 24/7/365."

I believe that no one can match my productivity using current tablets.  You aren't going to write technical documents, map processes, analyse data, and develop reports as fast on a 7 inch touchscreen device as I will on a desktop with multiple monitors, a mechanical keyboard, and a mouse.

And I believe, that the evolution of the tablet in the enterprise will ultimately result in it simply being part of a linked system, where my tablet, my desktop, and other devices, simply become parts of an integrated whole.

But, I know those are beliefs, not facts.

Is that a meteor in the shape of the Office Logo?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

LOL Oh the fun of so called progress.... the forcing of the latest technology of the time onto the masses to make life so much better. Personally Dave.... I think we were more apt to getting more work done in the "old" days, then we are today! Technology can be cool at times but seems like many have given up on the KISS principle just for the sake of progress. Nice seeing some recent posts from you again. Take care.... your old roomie from the past (who still uses a fair bit of low tech to get the jobs done!).