Advanced Planning Prevents Microsoft Office 2010 Migration Pitfalls

New report provides tips to properly plan a migration, avoiding business disruption, minimizing risks and maximizing productivity.

Upgrading to a new version of Microsoft Office can be daunting, as business leaders worry about business disruptions, compatibility issues and associated risks. Advanced planning will help companies avoid migration pitfalls, according to a new report by Forrester Research, Inc., Pitfalls to Avoid When Upgrading to Microsoft Office 2010, available for free on ConverterTechnology’s website.

“Although Microsoft Office 2010 is the fastest-selling consumer version of Office in history, risk-adverse businesses have taken longer to commit. While migrations benefit companies in the long-term, desktop transformations can be a lengthy process, requiring environmental assessments, file migrations, application testing and user training,” said Shawn Allaway, President of ConverterTechnology, whose migration experts contributed to the Forrester report.

“The major causes of business disruption result from file and application compatibility issues, but advanced planning can prevent these problems. By carefully evaluating the file landscape, gathering staff input, implementing staff training and anticipating the associated risks, companies can often avoid the pitfalls of a Microsoft upgrade,” Allaway added.

Reasons to invest in a Microsoft upgrade include providing a more reliable, higher-performing computing environment, improving productivity, optimizing desktop infrastructure, increasing protection of the PC environment and improving user satisfaction, according to the report. It adds that Windows 7 has quickly become the standard for most new corporate PCs.

Because of these benefits, Office migrations are expected to increase by 7% in 2011, according to Forrester, a technology and market research company.  Their research also indicates that 88% of businesses plan to migrate to Windows 7, and 46% are planning a migration within the next 12 months.

Experts from Forrester and ConverterTechnology offer the following tips for planning – and executing – a successful migration:

Evaluate your office file landscape. Involve your employees early in the migration process to help identify the most mission-critical documents, databases and spreadsheets. Survey your workforce to accurately determine how they use Office, which will help guide critical decisions during the migration process.

  • Prioritize migration efforts. Some users can be upgraded quickly, while others – such as employees using complex, business-critical Excel files – are at higher risk during a migration, with heavier file remediation and testing needs. Identify employees that collaborate and share documents so they can be migrated as a group.
  • Anticipate a learning curve. Plan for extensive training as employees start using the new interface.  Explain the basics, such as how to use the new Ribbon, as well as more advanced features for information sharing, filtering and more. Adequate training will help employees resume full productivity faster.
  • Maximize ROI by embracing new features. Educate employees about Office enhancements, demonstrating the productivity benefits of these new features. Upgraded features allow users to quickly perform multi-command tasks, co-author documents, visually represent data in Excel cells, filter data and more.
  • Determine file remediation needs. This will likely impact only a small portion of your files, but these are often your most business critical documents. Failing to plan for file remediation can be tremendously disruptive.
  • Implement testing to identify at-risk files. Migration teams must consider compatibility issues for files, templates, applications and add-ins. ConverterTechnology offers a full suite of tools to identify and remediate these at-risk files.
  • Recognize that some files will need manual intervention – such as password-protected files and Outlook attachments – or may even need to be recreated. Most companies use compatibility mode, ensuring that new content can be converted to a useable form.
  • Understand that embedded macros pose a serious risk, especially in business-critical Excel documents. It’s important to identify and fix “broken links” in your files – otherwise, you’re at risk for major errors.

More information about migration planning is now available in Pitfalls to Avoid When Upgrading to Microsoft Office 2010, available for download. Additionally, ConverterTechnology is hosting a free Webinar on the topic. Migration Best Practices, with featured speaker Benjamin Gray of Forrester and a Q&A with ConverterTechnology experts, will be held on April 21 and will address migration planning, benefits, case studies and potential hurdles.

ConverterTechnology is the only company to provide a comprehensive, automated Microsoft Windows and Office migration solution that manages, tracks and reports on the entire process. The company’s innovative suite of tools brings tremendous value to the migration process, including planning, workflow, discovering critical Office files, identifying compatibility issues and automating remediation.

ConverterTechnology has worked with industry leaders, including Fortune 500 companies, global financial and pharmaceutical corporations and the world’s most renowned theme park.