Office productivity software no closer to becoming a commodity

The data from Forrester's new report on the state of adoption of Office 2013 and productivity suite alternatives reveals some key takeaways.
Written by Phil Karcher, Contributor

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. 

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