This week on The Dan & David Show, David is vacationing with family in Maine, so I fly solo, but with a special guest in studio. Ismael Ghalimi is the co-founder and CEO of Intalio, an open source business process management company and the author of the IT Redux blog. However, Ismael is not on the show to talk about BPM, BPEL or blogging. He is also the person behind the forthcoming Office 2.0 conference, which will be held October 11-12 in San Francisco. Speakers lined up so far include many of the people making the waves in the Office 2.0 space.
During the show we discuss the rapidly evolving category of browser-based, collaborative productivity applications (aka, Office 2.0), the alternatives to the super-dominant Microsoft Office suite. It's the heavyweight, feature-laden client apps vs. the lightweight, simpler Web apps--but, as Ismael said, it isn't a winner takes all contest. "Advanced users will keep using traditional office products for a long time," Ismael said.
For the last nine months Ismael has been exclusively using Office 2.0 services, such as Google Mail, Salesforce.com, Dabble DB, Zoho Sheet, PXN8, CollectiveX and Flickr. Despite the naming convention, Office 2.0 is still in its 1.0 phase, but Ismael is betting that the Office 2.0 dream--a computer that nevers crash, no viruses or installs, accessible from any device--is getting closer to reality. Office 2.0 applications today might have 10 percent of the functionality of their rich client counterparts, Ismael said, but you can work from anywhere, collaborate more easily, mash up services and eventually you learn new ways of being productive.
We agree that Office 2.0 is gaining momentum beyond email, but issues of performance, feature sets, offline synchronization, security and privacy remain barriers for many users and companies. We also agree that the subscription costs and billing mechanisms for Office 2.0 apps have to be sorted out, and that Microsoft will be a central Office 2.0 player. In addition, Web infrastructure services, such as Amazon's just announced Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), presage the era of utility, cloud computing, in which users acquire compute services like electricity. "You have all the building blocks to build apps on line without having to invest in infrastructure," Ismael said.