ConverterTechnology Cautions Microsoft’s Office 2013 Migration Strategy Recommendations are Flawed

Fix-on-fail approach to remediation provides little relief to mitigating risk

NASHUA, NH – April 3, 2013 – ConverterTechnology, provider of software and services to help enterprises upgrade to new versions of Microsoft Office and Microsoft Windows without the risks, costs, productivity loss and headaches that typically arise from enterprise deployments, identifies flaws in Microsoft’s recommended Office 2013 migration upgrade strategies.
ConverterTechnology’s recently published “Embrace Office 2013, But Avoid Microsoft’s Migration Strategy” cautions Microsoft customers that Microsoft’s recommended process for easing a migration project does not alleviate the need for IT personnel involvement in fixing malfunctioning files.

“Many organizations are considering an upgrade to Microsoft Office 2013, especially with product support for Office 2003 ending in April 2014,” said Shawn Allaway, CEO, ConverterTechology. “While Microsoft offers a free upgrade assessment tool – Telemetry – it downplays early, comprehensive file discovery and corresponding risk planning but instead ultimately promotes a reactive approach to fixing conflicts identified by users.”

Such an avoidance strategy and the related technical flaws in Microsoft’s recommended migration upgrade strategy result in undue delays and productivity losses for end users, demand for greater IT support and hidden costs from required remediation.

Migration Recommendations Pose Significant Challenges

Microsoft’s recommendation for passive testing for migration issues is flawed. For example, most business-critical files, some used quarterly or less, are complex and often pose the most serious issues. Ignoring or downplaying critical files until needed post migration is an unacceptable risk-mitigation strategy.

The passive file testing of Office file usage via Telemetry requires installation of the Telemetry agent on individual desktops. Theoretically, the agent can create a heat map of potentially problematic files for an individual user, it occurs only after monitoring file usage over a time – three to six months minimum is ideal. The agent’s ability to assess file stability is inaccurate as in the case where a file is merely opened and read, thus avoiding the execution of a piece of VBA. The file is flagged as stable and potentially passed over for greater analysis.

While Microsoft promotes a post migration strategy of concurrently running Office 2013 and older versions of Office to minimize file incompatibility issues, IT professionals discourage such a practice knowing all too well the challenges of running two versions of Office within one build on a desktop. This recommendation leads to users trying to figure out which versions to use when files work improperly or appear incompatible with Office 2013, which in turn creates easily avoided desktop support issues for IT.

ConverterTechnology Advocates Success Requires Planning

The success of most Office migrations requires carefully planned processes that identify areas of risk and testing files in advance for conflicts. This is essential when combining a migration with a desktop hardware refresh. The ConverterTechnology process allows end users to take full advantage of new Office 2013 features, protects end-user productivity by avoiding a fix-on-fail approach to file remediation, and provides security protection as machines, not humans, analyze.

Allaway notes, “Identifying the scope and logistics of migration projects requires a clear understanding of the role each file plays in supporting business processes. Our tools arm IT managers with the information needed to plan and execute an efficient and well-managed Office 2013 deployment and file migration. We give them clear guidance on issues and recommendations related to desktop upgrades – the process of deploying systems, network, and software associated with Microsoft platform upgrades.”

With ConverterTechnology’s suite of tools, including OfficeConverter and Click2Fix, support for traditional migration best practices help enterprise organizations overcome file-compatibility deployment hurdles presented by newer versions of Office. These solutions gather and catalog information related to data quality and the nature of use of enterprise files, which gives enterprises precise and actionable decision support for migration planning.