Sunday, 14 June 2009

Want to cut operations costs? Then maybe you should think about moving away from Microsoft Office

Being a Microsoft Office Trainer, I guess maybe I shouldnt' be advocating a move away from Microsoft Office, but to be honest, busnesses today may need to think who really needs Micrcosoft office and who could benefit just as well with any one of a number of other free offerings in order to reduce costs.

For years Office used the menu/toolbar, metaphor that so many of us have grown up using. There's nothing wrong with change per se, but when Microsoft moved to the ribbon metaphor a couple of years ago, they changed the way people interact with the software completely. That meant the new version required companies to train their users to find the things they had previously understood instinctively - at a cost.

Even before the release of Office 2007, there were numerous options such as Google Docs and Zoho to name just a couple of online alternatives and OpenOffice, the open source office suite. Google has a low-cost enterprise version of Docs available and Zoho is a full-blown, low-cost suite of business tools. OpenOffice offers all of the tools you most need in your office suite: word processor, spreadsheet and presentation program, FOR NOTHING!

The downside of these tools is you have various degrees of compatibility with Microsoft Office users (and when 80 percent of the market is still using MS Office, that's an important factor), but if you keep it simple without advanced formatting options (such as animations in presentations), exchanging documents between various products works fine most of the time.

Let's face it, most users keep it very simple and for them, you could choose one of the free or low-cost alternatives. You don't have to give up Microsoft Office completely, just reduce the number of licenses. You can still have MS Office licenses for users in your accounting department, for example, who absolutely need Excel and its advanced features, but you can move everyone who really only need, say, simple wordprocessing tasks and an occasional presentation to the alternative.

Microsoft Office isn't going anywhere any time soon, but if you're looking for ways to cut your operations costs, it makes a lot of sense to look at moving those employees who don't really need every bell and whistle under the sun to an alternative package, while providing a limited number of of Microsoft Office licenses for those users that absolutely need it. It's a smart approach and it could save your business of money.

Author: The Away PA

The Away PA provides an "on demand" secretarial and business support service in conjunction with it's online office "Head Office". To find out more about how you can take advantage of a fully supported office, anywhere, any time, visit the Head Office website or The Away PA Website or email
or telephone 08450 527565.

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