What is OfficePower?
A growing portfolio of group services
OfficePower is a portfolio of office services designed for use by medium to large organisations which have substantial office workforces, and small outposts of such organisations (a small remote office, at home or a hotel bedroom).
Services for people who aren't always sitting at the same office desk
OfficePower specialises in services which help groups of people to work together. It works well for people within the same building or even those frequently on the move 'hot desking', but works well also for those who are divided by geography or organisation.
Services for medium and large organisations
The average OfficePower customer provides services to 400-500 desks from a network of fourteen servers; the smallest serves 4 desks, the largest 20,000. Most operate a network covering a number of sites within a single time-zone; many operate across several time-zones, and some world-wide. Many also connect to other organisations through OfficePower's electronic mail system, which works to the international mail interconnection standard X.400 and the Internet standard SMTP/MIME.
Support for a mix of desktop equipment and software
Many organisations operate a variety of equipment and/or software, or need to exchange information with organisations which are differently equipped. Amongst people who work together, have a mixture of equipment or software tools inevitably provides some difficulty to users and to those who provide services to them. OfficePower helps to lower such barriers by offering four types of interface:
- Web access through standard web browsers.
- Windows access through the PC client OfficePower for Windows.
- Mail access using Microsoft Outlook or other standard PC mail client.
- Terminal access with familiar OfficePower menus and ‘green screen’ file manager.
A word processor and a spreadsheet for use from `green screens'
OfficePower provides a growing portfolio of groupware services to MS-Windows, while providing access to the same services from 'green screens'. As users of 'green screens' are not able to make use of MS-Windows-based word processors and spreadsheets, OfficePower also provides a word processor and a spreadsheet which can be used from any screen.
What does OfficePower provide?
Workgroup - action
Highly-developed X.400'88-based mail package relied on hourly by many thousands of users across large and small networks. As the mailbox is held on the server, it is secure and can be accessed by more than one person. Now with 'intelligent mailbox'.
Built into OfficePower is an Internet mail gateway that allows users to send and receive Internet mail, and POP3 support that enables them to access their mail using commodity mail clients such as Microsoft Outlook, if required.
Helps the end-user to manage the flow of prompts arriving from mail, reminders, and other sources.
Lets users schedule and manage tasks that are carried out in co-operation by several users.
Workgroup - information
Ultra-fast local document content search. Now with the ability to search documents in a number of word processor formats and other types of object, including OfficePower UDAPs.
As well as supporting access to OfficePower features from standard web browsers, OfficePower Web includes a complete web server, enabling sites to build their own Intranet using OfficePower. The combination of OfficePower Web and PowerSearch adds powerful search facilities to your Intranet.
Pl@za for OfficePower
Teamware Group's new Pl@za product range provides web-based applications to help communities to share information and contact one another via an Intranet or the Internet. Pl@za for OfficePower provides these facilities using your existing OfficePower server - with the added benefit that the information exchanged by Pl@za users can also be accessed by existing OfficePower users, even using the "green screen" user interface.
Workgroup - time management
With day/week/month views and repeat appointments. Others can be allowed to view or update you diary, holding back private entries or even notes within entries.
Mail-based off-line scheduler to set up meetings in available diary slots. As it is mail-based, you can schedule meetings with people in another office.
Simple task recording, accessible and visible from diary.
Reminders can be generated from diary and to-do list.
Workgroup - database
Name & Address List
Can be used with word processing for mail-merge.
User Defined Applications (UDAP)
Multiple-view records with sophisticated look-up, validation, field calculation, etc. Now can be used for files which need to be open for update by a group of people together.
Personal document producers/editors
Multi-font word processor that can be used from character screens, with multi-font preview on MS-Windows. Supports templates and logos.
Spreadsheet of similar level to Lotus 123 V2.2, that can be used from character screens. Now protects your work with undo/re-do and periodic back-up.
Enables production of graphs and wordcharts from character screens.
OfficePower 2001 provides extensive administration capability to ensure that enterprises can adapt quickly to change, for example moving users between groups and systems.
Provides conversion between a large range of word processor formats. When installed, can be invoked directly or at point of need.
UDK (User Defined Keys)
Not a separable application, but a means for an end-user or system administrator to store keystroke sequences which automate OfficePower tasks, and invoke these from keyboard or mouse. UDK sequences can extend across and into most OfficePower applications.
Provides programmer access to OfficePower functionality and object formats, and the means for a programmer to provide an OfficePower 'look and feel' for their application.
Some customers use OfficePower alongside other mail systems, and perhaps are replacing UNIX with NT systems. Some users of OfficePower also spend most of their time working away from the office, offline from their OfficePower system. These users still want to use the data they normally have available to them.
OfficePower Archive allows users or teams of users to copy and optionally convert where applicable OfficePower objects including documents, databases, calendars, mailboxes from their OfficePower filestore onto a PC drive or CDROM. While offline, users can access objects using Windows Explorer or MS Outlook. While on-line to any OfficePower server, users can choose to update the OfficePower objects but still have the master objects on their PC drive.
So the value of accumulated data need not be lost to users who are working offline or who have migrated to a different system. As a bonus to OfficePower administrators, they can now recover valuable server disk space by encouraging users to keep their 'heritage' data on their own PCs.
What does OfficePower run on?
OfficePower has a client/server architecture where the server components run on UNIX servers - under SUN SOLARIS, UnixWare, and DRS/NX version 7. Exact details of the versions supported by each release are published in the manual OfficePower 2000 Release Notes - see Appendix A for details on where to find this manual.
Client components are run on the server and on Windows PCs. (Note also that X-terminal and SUN SPARCstation users are supported).
What's special about OfficePower?
OfficePower privacy provides the sort of subtle control which meets the users need without costing the user extra work, thus avoiding the user abandoning privacy (e.g. giving away a password) through frustration. For example, a user can:
- Give access to their diary but protect individual entries or parts of entries
- Give access to their mail in-tray but not to the personal mail log
- Give the ability to search for documents without permission to read the results
- Give ability to reply to their mail but only to reply 'authorised' by them rather than impersonating.
It also optionally provides for the kind of detailed audit of users' use of the system which is increasingly demanded by Defence establishments from even a general office system.
OfficePower provides reassuring protection which in many cases the user will first meet when they first have need to recover from a mistake or a failure. For example, ability to undo an editing session step by step to the beginning, and then perhaps to roll it forward again; ability to recover an editing session after a crash to within a few keystrokes; ability to arrange automatic backup of particularly important documents to another machine. Undo, redo and crash recovery apply to many applications.
OfficePower is relied on every day by users with tens or hundreds of servers and thousands or tens of thousands of users. OfficePower administration is also designed for large multi-server installations, in which users need to be efficiently moved between servers and software upgrades must be phased over a period of mixed-version working.
Usability/low training cost
OfficePower provides a safe environment for novice users. OfficePower's native applications have a strong family resemblance which makes it easy for a user to master new applications. End-users are not expected to become part-time specialists in the technology that serves them. Help is context-dependent; and in most cases user mistakes can be undone with a keystroke.
OfficePower can be tailored by end-user (Mail, Alerts, UDAP and UDK), system administrator (for example tailorable services/menus), or programmer (PowerKit). In particular, the extensive facilities for pre-programming the handling of mail and alerts can significantly improve the perceived reliability and reaction speed of an individual or department or organisation.
Support of mixed office environments
OfficePower is able to support mixed communities of terminal and PC users, and of people using their chosen word processors, spreadsheet etc. It does this by making services available via four types of interface.
Web access through standard web browsers.
Web access is becoming increasing popular. Many users want to view the world through a web browser, accessing local data via an Intranet and global data over the internet.
Windows access through the PC client OfficePower for Windows.
Windows access is still the most popular for professional people who need to get maximum benefit from applications.
Mail access using Microsoft Outlook or other standard PC mail client.
This is for users who want a simple mail service, and have standardised on a client like Microsoft Outlook.
Terminal access with familiar OfficePower menus and ‘green screen’ file manager.
Terminal access is retained for users with ‘dumb’ terminals who do not need the power of PCs to carry out their work. Most OfficePower users now use PCs but there are still a substantial number who have terminals.
Document converters can be made available at a variety of points in the system (for example at the point where mail moves from one group of servers to another, where a user handles a mail attachment, and where a user retrieves a document with PowerSearch). An 'auto-recogniser' identifies files attached to mail from other mail systems.
Extensive and growing groupware portfolio
OfficePower already has a wide range of applications. Applying Teamware Group and Fujitsu technology, this range is planned to grow further. Details of new developments and future plans for OfficePower are published in the latest version of the OfficePower Roadmap.
Keeping up-to-date with OfficePower
Upgrading from old OfficePower versions
Customers may upgrade to the latest version of OfficePower 2001 from OfficePower/Xtra or OfficePower Version 7 (and the earlier OfficePower 650) and interwork between OfficePower 2001 and OfficePower/Xtra or OfficePower 2000 systems.
Upgrading is very fast, simple and automatic. Administrators are led through the upgrade process from CD-ROM.
Files produced with Version 7, OfficePower/Xtra or OfficePower 2000 can be used with OfficePower 2001 as formats are unchanged. PowerKit applications continue to work. Printers, terminals and PCs can be used unchanged.
Files mailed between OfficePower 2001 systems and those running OfficePower 2000, OfficePower/Xtra or OfficePower Version 7 can be used successfully. However, new capabilities clearly are not available on these files on OfficePower Version 7. For example, a datafile created with records using system in-fills provided new with OfficePower/Xtra can be mailed or copied to an OfficePower Version 7 system but no additional new type system in-fills will be applied when records are created or updated on OfficePower Version 7.
Adding new versions as they are released
Customers on the Up-to-date service automatically receive new versions (Typically one each year) as they are produced. A new release is added to an existing system from CD-ROM in less than an hour: the process is designed to be very simple and straightforward.
Where can you find more information?
A wide range of OfficePower publications are available, and are delivered with the product. Appendix A of this manual gives a complete guide to these publications, and how they are issued.