February 04, 2010, 4:34 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.
In part one of this series, I highlighted the reasons an estimated 50 percent of enterprise-sized IT infrastructures are running mixed Microsoft Office end-user environments. This post offers information on how to complete the migration while minimizing downtime and frustration.
Most IT leaders realize that an Office 2007 deployment requires coordination, planning and oversight. As a result, many bring in a third party for migration assistance.
The support options and partnerships are abundant, including training companies, consulting firms, domestic and offshore outsourcers, and certified Microsoft Office 2007 migration launch partners.
Whichever partner they choose, IT leaders need to keep in mind that, to prove ROI, they need to place a priority on early adoption levels, limiting downtime, maintaining productivity and cost expectations. What's more, providing on-demand, expert support and training to information workers before, during and after deployment is critical for a successful migration.
Below are four Microsoft Office 2007 myths and realities to keep in mind:
Myth No. 1: Migration support needs disappear completely after a few weeks.
No, no, no. Microsoft designed the new interface to make it easier for users to find features that were available in older versions, but were buried in an elaborate menu structure. It's working, too. Months into a rollout, your employees will be finding tools they never knew existed -- and they will need help learning how to use them. To expect IT generalists to know how to use long-hidden features is downright unreasonable.
Myth No. 2: Migrating to Office 2007 is like every other migration.
Two words: no menus. Two more: no toolbars.
Many users will not even be able to open files without help. Office 2007 is a complete overhaul of the user interface. In previous upgrades, knowledge of how to get to features in the previous version got users where they wanted to go 95 percent of the time. With 2007, it's zero percent.
Myth No. 3: Handling a migration without outside help will give my staff a chance to shine.
Don't turn your IT staff into scapegoats. The scale of end-user need when Office 2007 hits a desktop guarantees your IT department will be overwhelmed.
Myth No. 4: I have smart employees. They'll have no problem figuring out how to use Office 2007 on their own.
An employee does not call the general help desk when he can get the answer from a colleague who sits near him. If none of his colleagues know how to use Office 2007, and he calls a generalist at the help desk, how much expertise will he find there? ♦
Stay tuned for Part 3: The Readiness Checklist. Click here to read Part 1.