Rich Client Ubiquity

Michael Sippey has a couple of good comments regarding Salesforce.com’s recently released “Office Edition,” which integrates its hosted SFA tightly with Microsoft Office:

“The company that championed went overboard with their “no software” positioning is now touting their integration into the world’s most widely used piece of personal productivity software. Which really isn’t that big of a deal, when you realize that this fits in perfectly with Microsoft’s strategy of morphing Office into a combination productivity app and very rich client…”

“If you’ve seen any of the whiz bang demos of Longhorn, it’s abundantly clear that the browser is not where it’s at for Microsoft. Instead, it’s all about the rich client. While .NET application development isn’t for everyone, there’s enough interesting functionality in the new Office to enable the return of the power user — the former macro writer who can now leverage their VB skills to integrate data (through web services inside and outside the firewall) into their everyday working environment.”

As much as I love the “thin client”, the browser can’t do everything. Business users still do a majority of their work in Word and Excel. I’m increasingly amazed and at times alarmed at the sheer amount of “business logic” that is maintained exclusively in Excel Worksheets.

Although, I may not agree that this practice is necessarily a good thing, the reality is that it’s not going to change quickly.

However, providing a more fluid means to transact “business logic” between productivity applications like Excel and Word with ERP, CRM and various enterprise systems seems like a natural progression.