ATLANTA: Microsoft has announced IT professional and developer preview versions of Office 2016, with the objective of providing integrated productivity software for business users.
Office 2016 offers a number of technical improvements that add data loss protection to Word, PowerPoint and Excel, and enhance the ‘under bonnet' performance of Outlook.
Other tweaks include click-to-run deployment, which aids the distribution and organisation of updates, and better management of network traffic.
Microsoft said a key theme running through Office 2016 is smoother integration with other Microsoft business and customer relationship management (CRM) products.
At Convergence 2015 in Atlanta on Monday, Julia White (pictured), general manager of product marketing for Office, demonstrated how the Office 2016 preview integrates with Skype for Business, and how the revised Outlook allows users to send access to OneDrive files as email attachments and enables multiple individuals to work on a single document.
"We're all working in a modern, collaborative way using the cloud, all working in one document," she said.
Dynamics CRM spring update
Microsoft also revealed updates to its Dynamics CRM product, which include tighter integration with Office and apps such as OneNote.
Mike Ehrenberg, Microsoft technical fellow and chief software architect at Microsoft Dynamics, told V3 that the update has been designed to allow the use of Office and other Microsoft productivity tools directly within Dynamics CRM.
"If you look at the way a user in a sales role does their work, they use CRM, but they don't do everything in CRM," he said.
"If they have to call the customer they need Skype, if they take notes they use OneNote, and then they want to look at their performance so they use Power BI.
"So we should give them a smooth, connected experience, and that was a big focus with this release."
Other enhancements to Dynamics CRM include a mobile app with an upgraded user interface, and a social engagement tool that allows users to directly interact with communities on social networks rather than just monitor their activity.
In her demonstration, White also showed how Microsoft's Cortana mobile virtual assistant can be used to carry out activities in Dynamics CRM through the use of voice commands.
Monday also saw Microsoft reveal its Azure IoT Suite, which is a cloud-based platform designed to help businesses manage data and build services on top of the Internet of Things (IoT).
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