Questions to Ask When
Considering a Microsoft Altnerative"> Questions to ask when considering a Microsoft Office alternative Microsoft Office alternatives have the potential to reduce the amount of money an organization spends on software licenses and to broaden the hardware and software that can be used. Any such switch, however, requires careful investigation. Here are some issues to consider:
Will there be file-format compatibility? While the Microsoft Office alternatives eWEEK Labs has tested tend to do a good job of rendering and creating Microsoft Office-formatted documents, theres no substitute for testing with your own files and those of your partners. We suggest a pilot program to identify potential incompatibilities. Saving documents in a controlled and widely accessible format such as PDF is a good way to ensure that documents will render properly.
What will it cost? Even if you go with an Office alternative that is free, you must factor in the costs of retraining. These costs will depend on how closely your users are tied to Office-only featuresall the alternatives weve tested feature the same core productivity functions as in Office, implemented in much the same way as in Office. Again, a pilot program is the best way to gauge the user disruption that a new suite might engender.
Does my organization stand to benefit from the cross-platform support Office alternatives offer? Applications such as OpenOffice.org tend to support more operating system platforms than Office does. An organization with a diverse platform base stands to benefit more from a suite migration than would a Windows-only shop.
Where will we turn for support? Before embarking on any sort of broad migration, audit your organizations office suite support needs to ensure that your IT staff and users will have the resources they require, whether from a vendor or from an open-source community.
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