There's a great new article by Michael Desmond in Visual Studio Magazine called "Office Alignment: Why Office 2010 and SharePoint 2010 are poised to unleash a new wave of developer innovation". Read it and you'll get Michael's always engaging insight into the new products investments in this release, and you'll read about some key customers who have leveraged the platform to drive their business.
I've been reading a lot about innovation, and it can be a topic that begins to elude us when we get too theoretical. The bottom line is that it means coming up with something new that drives forward the goals of an organization in an identifiable, measurable way. Customers who use Office and SharePoint as the backbone of their business productivity need to do more on a tighter budget. They need to get more out of the all of the investments they make, including IT. To me, that's an opportunity.
Office 2010 and SharePoint 2010 are extensible, which means you can program them to do more than they do right out of the box. Developers can leverage the APIs and services in SharePoint and Office through Visual Studio .NET to tailor the software to meet the needs of specific users, departments, or a whole organization. For example, IT can connect SharePoint to line-of-business data sources such as accounts receivable/accounts payable and serve up the data in a customized way as a SharePoint site. Then, they can connect this to custom experiences right inside the Office client applications like Excel, Word, Outlook, etc. Moreover, Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) can create solutions that leverage the same infrastructure to serve a world-wide set of customers.
If you want to get an overview of "what's new" in Office 2010, SharePoint 2010, and Visual Studio 2010 for developers and also see how these translate into real advantages for customers, this Visual Studiio Magazine article is a great place to start.
As you want to learn more, here are some great places to go:
MSDN for Office: http://msdn.microsoft.com/office
MSDN for SharePoint: http://msdn.microsoft.com/SharePoint
Office Developer Atlas: http://www.microsoft.com/resources/msdn/en-us/office/media/Atlas/Default.html
Office Developer Guild on FB: http://www.facebook.com/officedeveloperguild