For 20 years ”Productivity Suites” were the dominant force in Enterprise computing. We were editing texts and documents. We were crunching numbers in spreadsheets. We were running presentations.
Since their release 25 years ago, first on Mac, Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel found their way to 500 million workstations, laptops and virtual PCs. Eventually some collaboration features were added to Word, with tracking and merging changes.
Now, Google is trying to dent Microsoft domination, and snatch some of their revenue, by providing similar functionality in a browser. Collaboration further improved, with several people being able to collaborate on the same document.
All this progress and competition distract our attention from the fact that writing a document is essentially a pre-computer activity, so while “Productivity Software” improved productivity of writing, writing a document may be not the most productive way to communicate required information.
In personal communication, “instantness” and “sharing” effectively eliminated letters. We do not write a long letter to an old friend, we provide them access to our facebooks. We don’t write long structured texts, we write and post individual paragraphs, or sentences if on Twitter. Will this in any way impact our centuries-long practices of writing long reports, submissions etc?
Perhaps that’s the right time to start a conversation.