Sunday, September 23, 2007

A new hint about what’s coming (and when) in Microsoft Office 14

Master data management will be part of Office 14, a first Community Technology Preview (CTP) of which is due in the first quarter of 2008.

That’s according to a September 19 blog post by Microsoft IT Pro Evangelist “PatricG.”

Master data management is technology that allows for the management of common reference data across disparate IT systems or groups. Microsoft stuck a toe in the MDM space in June 2007 with its acquisition of privately held MDM specialist Stratature. Microsoft said at the time of the acquisition that it planned to withdraw existing Stratature products from the market and instead integrate the Stratature +EDM technology into Office applications and servers.

The first iteration of Stratature’s technology that will be part of Office 14 — most likely a component of the SharePoint Server product, it would seem– is codenamed “Bulldog,” according to PatricG’s post. Bulldog’s successor is codenamed “Greenwich,” he said, providing no delivery vehicle for that particular release of MDM. Greenwich will add new integration, analytical and transactional capabilities on top of what’s shipped with Bulldog, PatrickG said.

From PatrickG’s blog post:

“Bulldog includes Microsoft process and standards applied to the Stratature code base as well as several important new capabilities. Bulldog will meet these requirements while laying the foundation for the long-term master data management vision at Microsoft. In concert with the product enhancements, we will be building the product ecosystem including sales channels, customer support, partner readiness, demos and training materials.”

PatrickG said Bulldog will be aligned with the Office 14 wave for the CTP, Technology Adoption Program (TAP) and release-to-manufacturing deliverables. He said the CTP is due to go to select customers by Q1 2008.

Microsoft has said next-to-nothing about its plans for Office 14. Back in February 2007, a Microsoft presentation leaked that pegged Office 14 as on target to be shipped in the first half of 2009. When Microsoft told its sales force this summer that Windows 7, the next version of Windows, was unlikely to ship before 2010, I was betting that Office 14 also had been pushed back a year. Given this latest blog post, I’m now wondering Office 14 will ship ahead of Windows 7.

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