Microsoft Office 2010 is anticipated to have broad adoption in the upcoming year. Challenges include the need to minimize admin and IT support costs, fit the migration process into the workload of already-busy IT staff, and avoid impacting user productivity. With the right preparation and execution, you can simplify the process and ensure an ROI.
Minimize admin workload and IT cost with careful planning
Start by investigating your user requirements and monitor current Office utilization to determine which users are most active in each component. You can eliminate those who are not actively using an Office suite from the migration project to reduce deployment time and license cost.
Ensure your target systems meet the minimum requirements and upgrade where needed. A good practice to identify potential conflicts or compatibility issues is to install and configure a test system for verification.
When you are ready to purchase and package Office for deployment, make sure you have a volume licensed version of Office. The new Office Customization Tool (OCT) can be executed from a command line with “\setup.exe /admin” where is the location of your installation files. Be aware of any patches or scheduled maintenance updates, and if you are rolling out your migration in stages, prioritize with users whose use of the new Office is most critical.
You may also want to include remote access capabilities so support staff can walk users through the new interface and features when needed.
Increase user productivity and reduce support cost with awareness and training resources
Two very important steps for a smooth migration are (1) making sure that your users are not overwhelmed with the new changes, and (2) that your IT staff is not overwhelmed with helpdesk issues on top of trying to manage the migration effort. Fortunately, both of these challenges are easily addressed with the right training approach.
First, it’s a good idea to increase user awareness during the planning stage. Consider webinars, posters, and other roll out support tools. The new “ribbon” and other new aspects from 2007 are present, as well as the incorporation of the ribbon into Outlook, which impacts usability of this critical application.
As you get closer to deployment, you will want to provide training. For a variety of reasons, in-product help and search tools are considered inadequate by many users. In addition, users in need of help often cannot afford the downtime associate with submitting a help desk ticket or waiting for next-day follow up. A successful and effective solution should include not only topical coverage of the software, but a method for quickly finding specific topics by keyword search for just-in-time training. This will significantly reduce helpdesk calls (cost) and increase user productivity.
Finally, make sure your training solution and process allow for ongoing support throughout the year. Classroom training may sound more fun up front, but 3 months, weeks, or days later when users forget what they’ve learned, you could find yourself facing a new wave in support calls. With the right preparation, your Office 2010 migration can increase user productivity rather than disrupting it.
Deanna Reynolds, MCTS, Technical Trainer, Published Author, is an author and technical instructor residing in Bellingham, Washington. For close to 20 years, Deanna has trained students in all arenas, specializing in delivering enterprise training. These days, Deanna’s technical training has extended beyond the classroom to include more than 20 courses for KeyStone Learning Systems and three published books: Excel 2010: No Problem! (Wiley), Word 2007 Pocket Book (Prentice Hall), and Managing Projects with Microsoft Office Project 2007 (Microsoft Press).
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