Dana Gardner writes:

So, in project Elixir, all the customer data feeds from the CRM application on the server to Outlook on all the client PCs so that the salespeople can input their CRM updates and notes where ever they are -- connected or not. The offline capability plus the fact they are using an application interface they are familiar with, Outlook, leads to the productivity boost. Microsoft says they are seeing 10% more "face time" with customers as a result. They did not break out the costs associated with this breakneck advance.

But what I see, for a modest productivity increase, is complex and retro. There is also a lot of sensitive data piled up on the local hard drives, a lot of data transferring around the network at connection times, and a lot of architectural complexity to connect up the multiple apps and data to the email folders. What they are seeing architecturally is Lotus Notes in 1994, but without the benefit of the entire system architected securely from the get-go for such activity.

I guess Office is key to Microsoft's future, but I'm not sure this return to client/server using Web services technologies makes a lot of cost-benefit analysis sense.
Dana's got that 100%.  There is a reason that so many Notes customers use Notes for their CRM solutions -- it already has field-level security and replication, the best-in-class offline experience, back-end data integration across seventeen different systems. Microsoft, after all the years of attempting to compete with Notes, and acquisitions of things like Groove, appears to have to build new stuff like "Elixir" just to do what Notes did 10+ years ago?  wow.

Link: ZDNet Between the Lines: An architectural update for productivity >  (Thanks, Sean)

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