Enterprises will ignore Office web apps

Businesses have been slow to move to Web-based productivity tools, according to analyst firm Forrester.

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Microsoft's decision to finally address the Google Docs threat and put fully-functional Office apps on the Web will resonate with consumers more than businesses, which have been slow to move to Web-based productivity tools, according to analyst firm Forrester.

"The Web-based tools threat to Microsoft is a consumer threat," says Sheri McLeish, an analyst at Forrester. "Enterprise adoption of Web-based tools has been slow."

Of course, that adoption rate may pick up as 2009 wears on, given the extraordinary pressure on IT costs due to the economic downturn.

According to Forrester research, enterprises are less likely to move off the desktop version of Office and have not expressed a strong desire to have Office applications on mobile devices. This could make Microsoft's all but confirmed move to have Office Web Apps run on the iPhone an underwhelming event for businesses, says McLeish.

"Office docs do not lend themselves well to the small screen size of an iPhone," she says.

McLeish speculates that Microsoft's push to get Office on iPhones may be for social media opportunities such as connecting Office apps like Outlook with Facebook and other social networking sites. But as for the Office docs themselves, "there's just not a huge need for Office on the iPhone when there are other more fun productivity tools on there," she believes.

A recent survey of 152 enterprise IT decision-makers by Forrester about what they want from office productivity tools revealed that only 25 percent of information workers and 27 percent of IT managers want "better mobile capabilities" from productivity tools.

Other desired features for productivity tools ahead of "mobility" were "stronger collaboration integration," "data integration between apps," "document management integration" and "enterprise search integration."

Next page: Enterprise Web 2.0 still looms large