Microsoft has announced that the first service pack for Office 2013 will hit the update wires in early 2014. The service pack will be released to improve performance, add new features, and also improve compatibility with Windows 8.1, and cover Office, SharePoint and Exchange.

If your organization is utilizing Office 365, then the service pack won't mean too much to you, as Office 365 is always up-to-date. The release of service pack bits will be most valuable to those who are running the desktop-bound versions of Office 2013, and for those IT groups that are tasked with testing, testing, testing, and then rolling out any updates methodically.

The majority of companies understand that a 1st service pack of any Microsoft product is a welcome. In fact, the majority of IT groups will not roll out any new Microsoft product until the first service pack is available. In some cases, it's part of the overall business policies. Too many companies have been burned in the past after rolling out a dot-zero product. So, while Office 2013 and Office 365 are reported to already have a significant acceptance, service pack 1 should greatly improve those numbers.

I've been using Office 2013 across all my devices for over a year and am pleased with the function, features, and performance. Many companies will need to upgrade Microsoft Office soon. Not only is Windows XP expiring in April 2013, but so is Office 2003. For many, migrating from Windows XP to Windows 8.1 doesn't make a lot of sense, due to the huge change in usability, and most will move to Windows 7 instead. But, a migration from Office 2003 directly to Office 2013 is much easier to take and is probably the right direction. And, when service pack 1 for Office 2013 is released, it also means organizations will be more comfortable doing so.