Microsoft Outlook 2010 – Beyond those Email Messages, Targeting Enterprise Collaboration Space


Microsoft Outlook 2010 – Beyond those Email Messages, Targeting Enterprise Collaboration Space

It took Microsoft a few product releases to understand that enterprise collaboration is beyond those email messages.

Outlook 2010, the new offering from Microsoft Office 2010 is certainly a threat to a lot of companies (including Google) who have been selling online collaboration suite.

Here is a quick recap of top features in Outlook 2010 that really makes it enterprise friendly.

Key Features in Microsoft Outlook 2010

The key feature that takes Office to the next level is the launch of social connector.

Social Connector allows users to write emails while keeping track of their family, friends, and colleagues by viewing status updates and past communication history with the individual. When users view their emails a name, picture, and title will be available for the person they are contacting.

Inspired by Twitter/Facebook, Social Connector brings ‘real time activity stream’ of your contacts from social networks; though the current beta version only supports Sharepoint, LinkedIn and MySpace and will soon launch connectors for Facebook and Windows Live.

Outlook 2010: Social Connector screenshot

It’s a no-brainer that Outlook will eventually integrate with one’s in-house system (say SAP/CRM/HRMS implementation) and basic ACL (Access Control/LDAP) to enable organization to bring in a much inside view of ‘What’s going on?’.

Most of the other products (in enterprise collaboration space) have a broken view of this and startups in collaboration space have been building outlook plugins for the same. With the launch of this, expect an unrest among companies in enterprise collaboration space.

Initiate live conversations image_thumb[1]

By using Office Communicator, or your instant messaging application, Outlook 2010 provides presence and status information for those on your buddy or contact list. Available as a hoverlet, you can see your contact’s availability and then easily initiate a conversation directly through instant messaging.

Send SMS from Outlook 2010

Outlook 2010 is integrated with Office Mobile Service (OMS) or Exchange Server and one can easily send and receive text messages as well as receive notifications on your mobile device.

For example, you can receive an alert on your mobile device that an important e-mail message has arrived. You can also have Outlook calendar summaries sent to your mobile device.

You can configure settings depending on the geography and while this will cost a minimal amount, the trial period will be free [details here].

Voice Mail Previews

With Outlook 2010 and Exchange Server 2010, a voice-to-text preview of a recorded voice message is sent along with the voice mail recording directly to your inbox. You can access your messages virtually anywhere using your computer, Microsoft Outlook Mobile, or Microsoft Outlook Web App.

Split Message

Believe me, this is one of the most important feature and even Gmail should take a leaf from this. Simply put, Split message feature lets you split messages in a conversational views, ensuring that you reply to right people (with the right context).

Screenshot Tool

Outlook has an inbuilt screen capturing tool that  enables you to take screenshots, edit them (basic editing is enabled) and send them via email.

Other notable features include

  • Improved ToDo bar – The new ToDo bars have date headers.
  • Improved Calendar – Microsoft Outlook 2010 has a new feature called Schedule View that makes it easier to schedule time with your co-workers. Schedule View is a new horizontal layout for the Outlook calendar that displaysmany calendars at the same time

Is Outlook 2010 just about email messages? Not anymore.

Well, Microsoft is catching up with other office product suite and Outlook 2010 is surely an improvement over previous products. It is more closer to enterprise collaboration and is surely a case of worry to Google(s) of the world.

If you have been using the beta version, do share your review.

[Part of our fortnightly theme on Microsoft Office 2010 and Online Office Space. If you’d like to share your insights, send us an email: ashish at]

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