People-ready, really?

It's hard to escape the latest ad campaign from Microsoft, even in France. I've been trying to understand what's behind their "people-ready" motto. Here we are:

People are asking for business intelligence tools, content management, and richer collaboration, Witts said. A people-ready business platform needs to deliver these services, he said. "For a people-ready business, there's a universal set of requirements that a business needs to deliver across the enterprise," Witts said.

Microsoft is eyeing the Office SharePoint Server 2007 platform to provide these capabilities.

"Our move here is to say, let's democratize SharePoint," and integrate workflow, content management, business intelligence, and business process automation, Witts said.

He also discussed role-based versions of the Office suite, referring to this effort as Office 14. Versions would be implemented for roles such as research and development professionals, sales persons, and human resources. "We would call this role-based productivity. It’s a very powerful concept," Witts said.

Witts also said business practices inside the enterprise are taking precedence over business processes. The traditional narrow role of a business process, such as a purchase order, is limiting; collaboration needs to be recognized, according to Witts.

Why do my ribs hurt? Oh yeah, too much laughing!

No, seriously, at least without clearer explanations, I really can't imagine that folks are asking for that, that SharePoint is anywhere close to being "people-ready" (I know only two sorts of people: those who hate it and those who don't use it), that CIOs will applause at the idea of having to support multiple role-based versions of MS Office ("Yes we know you can't open the memo, the CEO has forgotten to save it for the Word-mob-edition again"), and that a "collaborative" purchase order has any chance to fly (even less appeal to the CFO). Creepy. The news that one will be able to blog directly from Word 2007 is far more interesting IMO.

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