I'm not an expert on this, but here's my take:
Essentially, everything that you can do in Office by clicking around can be automated. Every button and feature has its equivalent API function. A huge advantage over (PDF)TeX is that there are "proper" programming languages at your hand, though LuaTeX also offers one. VBA is easier to learn than macro programming. On the other hand if you look around on CTAN, somebody has likely already written the stuff you need for TeX. There is no "CMSWAN" :)
I don't agree with Steven Segletes; TeX is also a bit whimsical when placing figures. Someone who uses Word's capabilities to automatically generate TOC/LOF/LOT/numbering is considered an Office wizard - maybe just as much as we are all considered TeX geeks by people around us. I do know Office wizards. I also think that browsing the docs for the Word API and browsing the LaTeX packages and their manuals to achieve what you want are equally time-consuming and equally fun tasks.
Example: I was given some hundred Word documents which composed a book. Each file corresponded to a subsection and the filename was the number of the first page of that subsection. Chapters had their own numbered folders. So if you wanted to find something, you had to open the chapter folder, open the TOC for that chapter, look up the page number for the title and open that file. So I put together a script that opens each file, reads the first paragraph which should be the title, and writes a new TOC that has the titles hyperlinked to the files.
But I've seen Excel sheets that downloaded databases, accessed web APIs, created 3D plots etc. at the click of a button, all done in tons of VBA.