After the first murmurings around Exchange 12, a little more Office 12 info is starting to eek out. InfoWorld reports BillG's speech at the Office Dev Con last week in which he announced Office 12 is to include built-in workflow capabilities.
Of course if you are an experienced Office-watcher this shouldn't be any great surprise. The area of document-centric workflow has been ripe for an update for a while now. Exchange Workflow has been around for a long time, but wasn't updated in Office 2003, and is now firmly in maintenance mode: Customers have very clearly stated that as email has grown in importance to become a mission-critical service they don't want to risk custom-written code running on email servers.
Meanwhile the MS workflow strategy has evolved with BizTalk taking centre-stage in any workflow solution. As powerful/flexible/scalable as BizTalk is, there is a definite need for something that will support rapid development of the more common document-centric workflow scenarios, and enable easy development of lower-end workgroup workflow solutions. With any luck this is the gap any Office workflow capability will be looking to fill.
View BillG's keynote session in full here.