Live Documents - Web-enabling Microsoft Office

Live Documents - Web-enabling Microsoft Office is a new tool from Instacoll, which I can really see taking off. Operating as an small local install, the tool embeds itself within Microsoft Office and then allows you to collaborate on documents with others. By marking a document as a "Live Document" and assigned rights & privaleges to the people it will be shared with, the applet handles the tasks of maintaining the synchronisation of copies between those users and allowing you to track use of the document.

We've all been in version control hell - email a document to a group of people that open it a different times; who make different changes and then email them back to you, in between which the document has moved on in state. Whilst other solutions exist out there, notably Sharepoint [I've also been amazed this hasn't had wider takeup within companies], and more recently online "wiki" like services including writely, thinkfree, google spreadsheets, I think this may have the edge for the mass market since most people are comfortable in the Microsoft Office apps space and would prefer not to switch. Hence an applet that "fits inside" is comfortable.

This is also a viral app, since when I send a doc to my colleagues, they too need to install the app!

The branding is smart - with Microsoft big push with its "Live" services, some confusion could easily arise. Guess its surprising Microsoft hadn't grabbed the label first but they may well seek to take some action if people do get confused.

Only factor working against this is the need for a local install. Most people inside companies no longer have the ability to install things on their machine, so unless the company signs up, this app may never make it onto the desktop, thereby denying Instacoll the mass market & enterprise take-up they are clearly hoping for. They need to think about this aspect if they want to sneak in under the corporate IT radar as Salesforce so successfully did.

Its presently in beta and is free during this period. Charging thereafter is not yet announced.

I haven't tried it yet but plan to.

posted by John Wilson @ 2:23 PM Permanent Link newsvine reddit


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