Office 2007 Adoption: Dont Push the Process

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."

/zimages/6/28571.gifClick 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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