Office 2007 Adoption: Dont Push the Process

By Peter Coffee  |  Posted 2006-11-27 Print this article Print

Office 2007 adoption could depend on a willingness to wait.

Even Microsoft partner companies acknowledge the substantial lag time for adopting new versions of Office. The president of one Virginia-based systems integration company was merely admitting what everyone knows when he told the Redmond Channel Partner newsletter, "A lot of [his customers] still use Office 97 and it works fine."

Enterprise IT pros who serve as gatekeepers for new software in their companies must therefore balance the benefits of new collaborative features and control tools in Office 2007 against the considerable inertia of users and the pervasive concern for containing IT costs. Theres neither reason nor hope in attempting a "technology push," but a well-conceived adoption strategy may successfully identify and manage "capability pull."

Click here to read eWEEK Labs review of Office 2007.
There are clearly identifiable communities of users who might benefit from Office 2007. Departments responsible for assembling and distributing enterprise documents, such as press communications or annual reports, will likely recognize and take advantage of the new suites aids for building libraries of shared content and for inspecting and pruning document metadata before a piece of work is released.

IT gatekeepers also should anticipate that the hoopla surrounding Office 2007—and, for that matter, the buildup of Microsofts Windows Vista—may inspire users to raise the subject of capabilities that theyve wanted for some time. Office 2007 will be promoted heavily, and a certain degree of kid-in-a-candy-store reaction has to be expected—but some of the resulting requests may be achievable with familiar technology already in place. Support teams should be ready to explain such opportunities.

Finally, IT teams may find this a good time to push forward other initiatives in workflow automation, document management or other useful functions. Do whats needed, and blame any temporary inconvenience on Microsoft.

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Peter Coffee is Director of Platform Research at, where he serves as a liaison with the developer community to define the opportunity and clarify developers' technical requirements on the company's evolving Apex Platform. Peter previously spent 18 years with eWEEK (formerly PC Week), the national news magazine of enterprise technology practice, where he reviewed software development tools and methods and wrote regular columns on emerging technologies and professional community issues.Before he began writing full-time in 1989, Peter spent eleven years in technical and management positions at Exxon and The Aerospace Corporation, including management of the latter company's first desktop computing planning team and applied research in applications of artificial intelligence techniques. He holds an engineering degree from MIT and an MBA from Pepperdine University, he has held teaching appointments in computer science, business analytics and information systems management at Pepperdine, UCLA, and Chapman College.

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