Separate Administration Issues
Organizations don't have to buy the entire Office System kit-and-kaboodle to glean some of the benefits, analysts said. However, some new features require specific combinations of product componentry.
For example, for users to take advantage of presence awareness features in Office desktop apps, your company can't get away from installing LCS.
Administrators should also keep in mind that each product requires a certain degree of "separate administration," according to Gotta. "This is perhaps as it should be, because systems such as Exchange and SharePoint would be managed by different people in enterprises, anyway," Gotta theorizes.
"At this point, some of the products link into the Windows operational console, and some do not. Eventually, though, these products should have a common anchor point," the analyst continues.
In making implementation decisions, either now or in the future, "one thing to look at is how well Microsoft is delivering on its ultimate plans to provide MOM (Microsoft Operations Management) plug-ins for all the products," advises Jocelyn Noel, principal analyst at JNoel Associates.
More Than a Mere 'Word Upgrade'?
For his part, Gotta foresees several types of migration patterns. Some customers will step to Office System purely as "the latest Microsoft Word upgrade," he predicts. Some will be lured by specific feature sets of other products in the system, while others will migrate their entire infrastructures to the Windows Server 2003 platform.
However, many observers claim that the Office System 2003 is further clouding Microsoft's already muddied product positioning waters.
"If you're a consumer or a business user — or even an IT administrator — you might find it hard to even begin to figure out this announcement," says Miramar's Walker.
Will Office System 2003 prove to be a boon for Windows administrators or yet another bane to contend with? Much will depend on customers' research and migration planning. Companies will need to know, from the outset, what they're getting into, what they want to do, and how they expect to get there with Office System 2003 products.