February 04, 2010, 4:32 PM — Perhaps this scenario describes your desktop software situation: Half of your end users use Office 2007, and the rest are still running Office 2003. All you’ve heard from the former are “Where’s the file menu?” and “How do I save a document?” From the latter, you’ve likely listened to endless grumbling about their frustration with Office 2003-incompatible files created by colleagues.
It needs to be said: Finish what you started.
According to a leading industry source, more than 50 percent of enterprise-sized IT infrastructures are running mixed Microsoft Office end-user environments. The reasons are many.
The Recession: During the past two years, IT budgets were cut and some employees were let go, leaving Office 2007 deployments incomplete.
Misjudgment: IT leaders were unaware of the amount of work that went into a migration. A dearth of internal resources to handle increasing call volume and demand for training halted phased rollouts.
Choice: IT leaders who weren’t mandated to deploy Office 2007 to the entire company chose to migrate in more of a “drip” fashion. Only those who requested the upgrade received it.
It’s not just user frustration you have to worry about either. Managing a staff that is running two versions causes pain for the company in other ways: compatibility issues, limited return on your Office 2007 investment and a semi-knowledgeable internal help desk.
Below is a sampling of the most common Office 2007 issues for end users.
1. Completing basic tasks such as opening and closing files, applying formats, printing and setting application options.
2. Inability to customize the ribbon and Office bar.
1. Sorting and filtering data in a completely changed interface.
2. Applying conditional formats in a completely changed interface with many more choices.
1. Confusion due to partial implementation of the new interface and changes in the parts that resemble the 2003 interface.
2. The difference between opening and previewing attachments.
1. Formatting changes in documents both on conversion and in compatibility mode.
2. A thoroughly revamped mail merge feature.
1. Custom animations created in earlier versions not working properly.
2. Changes to the way templates, masters and slide layouts work.
The pain doesn’t need to be great, however. With a plan in place, you can cost-effectively finish your Office 2007 migration while minimizing the end user and help desk learning curves.
Stay tuned for part two, which will give you the information you need to get it done.