This week, two months after unveiling the Preview of Office 2013, Microsoft has finally announced how much it will cost, KnowledgeTree takes a look at email as a collaboration tool, Alfresco releases a new syncing application, and M-Files tells us more about M-File 9.0.

Office Subscription Prices

In July, Microsoft unveiled the preview of the new Office 2013, which added a whole pile of features making it easy to work on all new Window devices from PC’s to tablets. At the time Microsoft said that it would be looking at subscription services and ways to make it all more economical for all kinds of the different groupings.

This week, it has finalized those new subscription prices, which given the flexibility they provide across different locations and devices, look like good value.

There are two main ways people will be able to get the new Office -- a subscription to Office 365  or a one-time purchase. For most people, subscribing will be the best choice -- especially for families, consumers with multiple devices and small businesses.

Subscriptions to Office 365 include all the Office applications, additional services product upgrades as soon as they’re available, and access to Office on up to five PCs or Macs, as well as streamed access to full-featured Office applications on any PC. Users will also get a 25 GB Outlook mailbox, shared calendar, contact manager, scheduling and task-list tools.

For small business, there are a couple of new price options that include Office 365 Small Business, while the new Office 365 Small Business Premium is designed for organizations with 1-10.

Price-wise what it boils down to is this: Office 2013 Home & Business is US$ 219.99, and Office 2013 Professional will cost US$ 399.99 but this is just for a local version of Office, with the license valid for just a single PC or Mac. Office 2013 Home & Student is US$ 139.99.

The online subscription models are a lot more attractive and it seems as though this is the way Microsoft is trying to push people. Office 365 Home Premium is US$ 99.99 per year (or $8.33 per month), and Office 365 Small Business Premium is US$ 149.99 per year per user (or $12.50 per month per user). There is a lot more on this so if you want to check it out, have a look at the blog.

KnowledgeTree and Collaboration

Also over the course of the week, cloud document management and collaboration vendor KnowledgeTree published the results of new research that make interesting reading, especially for those enterprise workers that find collaboration in the enterprise difficult.

From the research and according to Peter Mollins, Marketing VP with KnowledgeTree:

  • 94% of important business documents are collaborated on
  • 79% found the collaboration process to be frustrating
  • The bulk of teams that collaborated did so via email

The figures only go to prove what day-to-day observations consistently show -- people still  seem to prefer to use email than collaborative technologies. Why they do is not clear as it has been shown in this and many other surveys that document management technologies make collaboration a lot easier.

The overall conclusion of the study of 1,400 business users across six continents is that the process of creating and approving team-generated content is difficult in the vast majority of organizations. And while email was cited as the main reason this is happening, evidence across the industry suggests that email usage is only a symptom of a wider problem.

For example, email was cited as the reason why gathering feedback on projects and documents was considered difficult. The result (or is this the cause?) is that 59% of professionals gather feedback and information by email.

This is a real chicken-and-egg problem; do people use email because collaboration technologies pose too many problems, or is it because people use email that collaboration technologies are considered difficult to use?

The research also showed that the ability to restrict access to the right people and roles is considered difficult in collaboration tools with more than half finding that controlling authorization is a significant challenge.

Email is also the main way enterprise users have of approving documents; 61% of contracts, budgets and other document approvals are done via email, but only 13% of users find the process to be efficient.

If you want to find out more check out the video below, otherwise the full report can be accessed here after registration.

Alfresco’s Syncing Tool

Alfresco was also busy this week, this time making the syncing of documents between on premise deployments and cloud-deployments a lot easier. With the release of its new enterprise syncing technology, Alfresco has shown again an ability to respond to the changing Enterprise CMS landscape in a way that many other vendors are finding difficult to do.

With this new enterprise tool, users of Alfresco Enterprise CMS and its cloud services will be able to keep all their content synced. CMSWire had a chat with David Gildeh, director of cloud services with Alfresco, who outlined some of the new features and the thinking behind the new release.

M-Files v9.0

Between now and the end of the month M-Files will be releasing v9.0 of M-Files. Not exactly news, but little by little details of what will be available is coming to light.

The new version of M-Files, which will be available as v 9.0, features a new user interface (UI) extensibility framework that enables partners and customers to build custom applications using HTML or Javascript.

The result is that this version of M-Files will allow users to build industry-specific or function-specific applications with enterprise content management functionality. The list of features and functions that are due to appear with this is impressive. More on this by the end of the month.