Re: “Office applications have not been specifically designed for unattended usage at scale”
My worldwide colleagues and I are attempting to jointly and simultaneously review and make edits to a large (250+ page) Word document located on a sharepoint server. So, I'm getting a kick out of this.
It's going about as well as you'd expect it to. 10+ people have it open, not actively editing it, mind you, just "in" the document, and it's throwing everyone off once every couple of minutes. "You have been disconnected, remember to save any changes before refreshing"...at which point it repositions you at the top of the document and begins the minute-long refresh process. Whether or not your changes (or some portion thereof) have been saved will be revealed to you at a later time.
Now, to be fair, the doc is large, track changes is on, as are comments, there are people from my org, and the client's org looking at it, and there are lots of drawings and images, and the usual multiple levels of formatting, tables, fonts, and so on. Some folks are editing it online with Office 365, some are editing it locally, and, of course, everyone's using a different version of Word. It's hard to understand why the damn thing even works at all, but, unfortunately, this is reality in the corporate world.
Now, you might expect a company who has been developing and selling basic office software for several decades to appreciate this, and to have put some effort into developing a robust architecture before offering "shared document editing" as a product. Perhaps, somewhere, there is such a company.
But, it is not Microsoft.