Between fantasy and reality: Office 365 in the browser

Jul 03, 2017

These days it is impossible to talk about Office without including the mysterious term “Office 365”. The issue, discussed most frequently, is not whether there is a future in which all of us will only work with the Office products online in the browser, but rather when. In this context, the term “Office 365” has to be briefly viewed in context: Office 365 merely describes a license model of Microsoft, and generally consists of the latest Office version for the computer (currently Office 2016), as well as online access to various online products by Microsoft including a browser version of PowerPoint, Excel, Word and Outlook.

An interesting question is  how long we will still be working with traditional local Office installations before we will only work on Office documents in the browser. A poosible answer to this question may be found when regarding the current functionality of the browser variant of Office: Presentations do not support diagrams, Excel sheets are unable to contain macros, and Word documents cannot contain a table of contents. In addition –  according to a survey – , nearly 70% of all users complain about performance issues when using these in a corporate environment.

It is therefore clear that currently no company get by without local Office installations, if one wants to work productively with Office. It will be crucial, therefore, to find out how quickly Microsoft will upgrade their online versions to ensure the normal scope of functionality of Office across all platforms. In addition, companies must significantly increase their Internet bandwidth to make working in the Cloud as pleasant as possible for the users. Only when applications in the browser respond as quickly as they do locally, will a user acceptance shift to other platforms.

Our assessment: We believe OfficeOnline will be ready in 3 to 5 years at the earliest, until companies can at least partially dispense with local Office installations.