It's fair to say that only a very small percentage of the population have the confidence to buy a new product or sample a new service before anyone else has decided to part with their cash. In the marketing world it's a recognised fact that there may be different stages of acceptance of new products and different types of users who adopt new ideas at different stages of a product's lifecycle.

Adopter categorisation can be examined on the basis of innovativeness. Obviously some individuals are more receptive to a new idea or product than others. The spectrum of terminology used by marketers to categorise people into recognised buying groups usually includes Innovators, (the first group of consumers to buy new products), through to Early Adopters, the Early and Late Majority, to the last of the bunch - the Laggards. Laggards are the people most likely to wait until a product has been thoroughly tried and tested before they even consider buying it.

By the same token, marketing a new program is just like marketing anything else, whether it is cheese or chocolate. And when a new application is brought into the marketplace, it's given a tough testing before the majority of the target market decides to buy.

Programs are constantly changing and being refined so that ultimately providers deliver exactly what you want. Right now, behind the scenes, software developers are working on how to make Office quicker, easier to use and more sophisticated. Plans have already been announced to deliver the new Microsoft Office Web Applications - lightweight versions of Office - through web browsers. Since the announcement of these Microsoft Office Web Applications, there has been a lot of excitement about this new service. It will ultimately lead to creating, editing, collaborating, and sharing documents using the web.

When available, with the next version of Microsoft Office, Office Web Applications will increase the opportunity for people to use a browser to create, edit and collaborate on Office documents. The new application will mean a more consistent Office experience and one which will be available when and where it's needed, regardless of whether we are accessing Office documents through the PC, phone or remote browsers. Office Web Applications will work across multiple platforms and browsers including Explorer, Safari and Firefox.

Today, the majority of Office users don't use just one device, but probably several. People use PCs, phones and browsers in different situations. The browser has become more important as we use technology on the move, or even when using someone else's PC. We have demanded a seamless, synchronised experience across those devices to help us work smarter, faster and better. And its Microsoft's aim to make using Office Web Applications quick and easy - anywhere you choose to access your documents online. The new tools will ensure that everyone can contribute to documents using the internet.

As the suite is rolled out it will be met with both positive and negative feedback. But ultimately, the Microsoft Office Web Applications should enable the next step in taking your office with you wherever you go.

Remember, a Laggard is someone who stays behind the trend and does not adopt new innovations until they are well proven in the marketplace. It's up to you how and when you embrace the next release of Office. Whether you chose to go with the Innovators or the Laggards, it's a good time to ensure you're up to speed with Office 2007 so that you're ready for the next step whenever you decide to take it.