Office productivity software no closer to becoming a commodity

Office productivity software no closer to becoming a commodity

Summary: The data from Forrester's new report on the state of adoption of Office 2013 and productivity suite alternatives reveals some key takeaways.

TOPICS: Microsoft

We just published a report on the state of adoption of Office 2013 And Productivity Suite Alternatives based on a survey of 155 Forrester clients with responsibility for those investments. The sample does not fully represent the market, but lets us draw comparisons to the results of our previous survey in 2011. Some key takeaways from the data:

  • One in five firms uses email in the cloud. Another quarter plans to move at some point. More are using Office 365 (14 percent) than Google Apps (9 percent). 

  • Just 22 percent of respondents are on Office 2013. Another 36 percent have plans to be on it. Office 2013's uptake will be slower than Office 2010 because fewer firms plan to combine the rollout of Office 2013 with Windows 8 as they combined Office 2010 with Windows 7.

  • Alternatives to Microsoft Office show little traction. In 2011, 13 percent of respondents supported open source alternatives to Office. This year the number is just 5 percent. Google Docs has slightly higher adoption and is in use at 13 percent of companies. 

Microsoft continues to have a stranglehold on office productivity in the enterprise: Just 6 percent of companies in our survey give all or some employees an alternative instead of the installed version of Microsoft Office.

Most surprising of all, multi-platform support is not a priority. Apps on iOS and Android devices were important to 16 percent of respondents, and support for non-Windows PCs was important to only 11 percent.

For now, most technology decision-makers seem satisfied with leaving employees to self-provision office productivity apps on their smartphones and tablets if they really want them. 

Do you think we're getting closer to replacing Microsoft Office in the workplace?

Philipp Karcher is an Analyst at Forrester Research serving CIOs. 

Topic: Microsoft

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  • Love LibreOffice

    Been using it (and OpenOffice) for more than 5 years. It generally does everything I need. It is not perfect and does come with some warts/speed bumps but it has never destroyed a document and it doesn't bother me with license code issues. Would recommend for all but the most heavy users of MS Office
    • Business doesn't really want "generally most of what I need"

      I've tried on several occassions to introduce open source office suites at my work with no success.

      It only takes one missing feature or problem to be a deal breaker. It is hard to justify to users that the company will save a few dollars a year if they use some free software, so they have to deal with those issues.

      I'm not saying MS-Office is better, just that most end users prefer it. I've used Apache/Open office for about 5 years now and only occassionaly have an issue, but I don't do much critical work in office suites.
      • Double standard?

        So, you can swear, that Microsoft Office has never, ever misbehaved?
        • millipede will never sleep in silk bed.

          It needs to smell dung...
        • Not what he was saying

          He was saying that the "free" office-style suites he uses weren't acceptable to his co-workers because there were *features* missing that they needed/wanted for their own purposes, but those features were available in Office.

          Think of it like replacing a hammer with a heavy rock. Sure, the heavy rock will pound nails into wood, & it's cheaper than buying a hammer at the hardware store, but you still have to make sure the rock's shape is ideal for pounding the nail straight into the wood...and the rock doesn't have the claw end to pull nails out that you need to remove. Perhaps a simplistic example, but still appicable.

          And yes, you may say, "But Software Program X provides 95% of the functionality of MS Office, so you should just download it for free instead of paying the license fees!!!"...which is fine if the functions *you* need are completely found within that 95% commonality. But if someone needs the extra functions in the *other* 5%...then "Software Package X" doesn't provide them *everything* they need, and they don't always have the option of "learning to do without it" to get their work done. Would you accept a free TV set that didn't have component RGB connectors, let alone HDMI connectors, as the new TV to use with your HD set-top box and Blu-Ray player? Of course not, because you wouldn't have the HD-quality picture that you wanted in the first place (or you would have stuck with the non-HD set-top box & standard DVD player).
          • Your explanation precisely describes why

            .. I don't use Windows as a platform even on desktops, except as program loader for things like AutoCAD, whose developers are unfortunate enough to be tied with that platform.

            Windows simply does not do few things I need, and even if that fact is ok for the rest of you, it is not ok for me.

            As for Office. The one primary reason I do not use it is that it is not multi platform. It runs only on Windows and OS X. I use UNIX. If Microsoft ports Office (with all the features) to my platform, I might reconsider. Because, I dimply do not care what the piece of software is -- as long as it does the job for me. Microsoft Office does not.
    • Another experience

      I've had OpenOffice and LibreOffice destroy documents on a regular basis. Worst affected are PowerPoint presentations.

      On several occassions I've seen companies invite clients in for discussions and the client brings a PPT along to show their processes, the company uses OO.o or LO and bam! On the big plasma TV in the conference room, in front of the client and their partners, all the lines showing process flows have magically rearranged themselves!

      I used OO.o on Linux for several years when I was self employed for my main work, but when I had to exchange documents with others, I still kept a small Windows PC in the corner to double check the documents and reformat them as necessary. In the end the amount of documents I was exchanging was so large, that it was simply easier and more cost effective to just use the Windows machines with MS Office on it. I also tend to use many features that are still lacking in OO.o/LO, although some things like outlining/navigation were much better than MS until Office 2010 came along.

      I still use a lot of FOSS software, but an Office product isn't among the tools I regularly use. They are getting better all the time, and as long as your workflow doesn't involve having to exchange files with somebody who is using MS Office, they are great products. There is nothing wrong with them, if they can be used in isolation. The problem is, as the chart shows, a majority of the business world still uses MS Office - even here there isn't 100% guaranteed compatibility, but 99 times out of 100 it works.
      • seriously

        This argument is nonsense!

        If you are any serious with your presentations, you will bring those in PDF format! This is the format intended for *displaying* formatted pages. PPT or any other format is for *editing* these presentations. You don't edit your presentations in front of your customers, do you?

        Are people really not remembering the time, when word processors and page layout applications were separate and for good reason. Until there came Microsoft and created this bloated abomination Office. This is now coming to haunt them.

        Insisting that everyone should use the same piece of code is the wrong part to interoperability. The proper way is to insist all those who try to sell you software use common file formats and rendering. Those who refuse, will just fade away.
        • Presentatipns

          PDF? Are you kidding? Not scaled for the screen format, no animation.

          Microsoft still have Publisher if you need page layout, you still can't do that properly in Word.

          As to file formats, MS released their formats as an open standard that others can use and it can also use ODF. The problem is that the other application, like Oo.o and LibreOffice don't support all the features of MS Office, so ODF can't store MS Office documents accurately and LibreOffice et al can read the open MS formats, but don't have the features to display them accurately.
  • Long way off

    It will be many years before there is anything out there that seriously challenges MS Office. It cost is worth it to companies to give people what they already know and trust. There is nothing else out there that even comes close.
    • agreed, Office will be around for decades.

      On the corporate side, it's almost impossible to let go of, especially when you only pay $10 for the HUP program (home use). Small business sector has some room for competitors to find a niche revenue stream, but forget out about it in the big corporations.
  • Virtual access to Windows store apps

    What would be nice, is if MS provided an option for users to install Windows Store apps virtually, on older versions of Windows and other platforms. This would significantly expand the market for Windows store business apps, help stimulate the Windows store app business market, as well put pressure on businesses to adopt Windows 8.

    The Microsoft ecosystem should be seen as the one which fosters the production of the best IP, by providing the best quality business and consumer apps, in an environment where developers get the best monetary reward. If developers want to hang around the Android ecosystem where everything is free, and they can't make any money, then that will be their affair.
    P. Douglas
  • Closer?

    Office productivity software has been commodity for decades.
  • Looks like web-based Google Docs

    and, possibly, Google's Quickoffice mobile office suite (not mentioned in the article) are beating out open source office suites and other proprietary office suites.
    Rabid Howler Monkey
    • Huh?

      You think big businesses are using QuickOffice Mobile Office Suite?
      Michael Alan Goff
      • There's no Microsoft Office app for the iPad ...

        And there's no iWork apps (i.e., Pages, Numbers) for Android ... So, yes, I do. More here:

        P.S. Be sure to read the Citrix Enterprise Mobility Cloud Report Q4 2012 (PDF format) linked in the above article.
        Rabid Howler Monkey
        • Wow

          So a small subset of people who do office work on their iPad, which is a tiny tiny group, likely use QuickOffice. I don't see why people assume that a huge number of people are replacing their laptops with iPads.
          Michael Alan Goff
          • Michael Alan Goff: "Wow"

            I asserted that enterprise users were using QuickOffice. Your assertion was that they were not using QuickOffice. I provided a source to back up my assertion. Where's yours?

            P.S. The Citrix report also shows a not insignificant usage of Android, roughly 35%, among its clients. These users were likely using either docs2go or QuickOffice on their devices.
            Rabid Howler Monkey
          • There is no source either way

            as to what they're using their iPads and Android devices for, just that they're using them.
            Michael Alan Goff
        • For Mac users

          who purchase Office 365, they only get the 2011 cut-down version of Office (not the complete 2013 version) and so users still don't have access to all of the apps eg OneNote and Access. So, it's a case of still paying full-price for half the product.