Technology Positioning Statement Report

1.1.1 Office Editing Tools and Suites

Description: End-user tools and integrated packages of software for word processing, document authoring, editing, spreadsheet calculations, and business presentations.

Category: 1 - Authoring and Editing   Subcategory: 1 - General Purpose
Old Category: End-User Tools - Productivity Elements - Document Processor


Office XP Standard


Industry UsageSC Usage

Performance Metrics

Ease of use, which implies user interface familiarity and simplicity; wide range of file format conversions for interoperability; COM+ compliance; XML support; metadata support; markup and hyperlink support.

Usage and Dependencies

Industry Usage: Microsoft Office (Professional suite) includes Word (text processor), Excel (spreadsheet), PowerPoint (presentation creator), Outlook (email), Access (database) and several utilities. Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint are leaders in the marketplace. Office 2000 extends the capabilities of these products from individual desktop tools into an integrated, web-based document collaboration environment for workgroups. In addition to authoring content, these tools can support hyperlinks and metadata, and can output documents in HTML and XML formats.

Microsoft added a great deal of Web-based functionality into the Office 2000 suite - the ability to share documents over the Web, and Web publishing - the ability to save and publish documents to the Web. These features are strategically useful for organizations such as SC that plan to migrate to a fully web-based electronic information management environment.

The next version, Office XP, was released on May 31, 2001. Office XP introduces some new productivity features such as smart tags and task panes, but its main improvements are in its enhanced support for document management, collaboration and workflow, using the XML-based Web Storage System in products such as Exchange 2000 and the SharePoint Portal Server. SharePoint uses "Web Parts" which are analogous to Plumtree's "gadgets" and use the same standard schema. (See Portals, Category 3.3.1).

SC Usage: Microsoft Office 97 has been upgraded to 2000 and is now deployed as part of the standard image. This suite of tools is the source of most of the new documents that are created in SC. Office 2000 products can create HTML and XML files, and users can create document profiles and keyword indexing to facilitate document searches. With the addition of a plug-in, Word can also output Adobe PDF format (although PDF should be reserved for presentation-quality documents only). Thus the Office Suite constitutes a sufficient foundation for general-purpose document management.

SC Application Impacts: All architected applications will be integrated with tools associated with the office suite on the desktop, in compliance with the Information Architecture and the SC infrastructure for the business of day-to-day business. The web-based SC Information Portal (SCIP), based on the Plumtree Portal, places end-user tools within a browser using "gadgets" which use the same standard as Microsoft's "Web Parts" in SharePoint.

Certain users must still use alternative desktop software components to accommodate data owned by other Federal agencies that is in alternative formats. Migration to XML-based data formats is happening throughout the government; this technology should facilitate data interoperability better than previous middleware technologies.

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