Microsoft Office transitioning from document to task-based approach

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Office is Microsoft’s most valuable property, which generally means that it’s not the one the company should be rocking the boat with too much.

It seems however change is coming to the venerable productivity suite, with Microsoft Office Chief Experience Officer Julie Larson-Green telling attendees at the Bloomberg Technology Conference that she has personally shaken up the division.

“People want to get things done in the fastest way possible,” Larson-Green said. “It’s about the task you’re trying to do.”

The new task-based approach is to replace the document-based approach with Larson-Green saying that she reorganized Microsoft Office around tasks, not individual software.

“We can think more deeply about ‘task’ versus ‘tool,'” Larson-Green said.

Some members of the Microsoft Excel, PowerPoint, and Sway teams have been retasked to work on “content creation,” she said, while some of the Excel and Access teams are now focused on visually presenting data.

This will allow documents to  “decompose into their parts,” which would allow, for example, if you ask Cortana for all the charts you made on Monday, she can strip them straight out of Excel and show them to you.

The approach may end up ruffling some feathers. Larson-Green is however used to controversy, having invented the Office Ribbon and headed up the design of Windows 8, amongst other jobs.

“You have to be willing to take risks,” Larson-Green said.

Lets hope her efforts are more well recieved this time.

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