Enterprise upgrades to newer versions of Microsoft Office can be problematic. There are things that can, and sometime do, go wrong during an upgrade, and one of the most common are broken links within documents. To add complexity to the situation, the links that usually break during the upgrade tend to be the most complex ones and associated with the most business critical files.
Microsoft Office is a very powerful productivity tool. And Office “power users” often will create links between files, like Excel file to others or to Word or Access files. These complex, but power files are shared between workers and end up behaving more like an application than a file. For example, many financial companies build Excel spreadsheets with business critical data and if links are broken during an upgrade, there is a huge potential risk. If one application or file fails for even one day, it could potentially result in losses of millions of dollars.
Usually links are broken because the files have a new extension (when migrating from Office 2003 to 2010 for example). To make things more complicated, in certain circumstances broken links are not often readily apparent. This is why broken links are often called the “hidden problems of an upgrade”.
ConverterTechnology recently introduced a new product, LinkLab, which can help find and fix broken links to avoid post upgrade problems. Usually, the IT department do not wish to be responsible for repairing links. LinkLab allows end-users to scan files themselves for broken links. Therefore, the pressure on the IT department is reduced. Calls to the help desk from end-users complaining about unusable files or links to outdated information will be greatly decreased, freeing IT to focus on the rest of the upgrade project. For the end-user, LinkLab has the advantage of being very easy to use, as it is an add-on to Microsoft’s Office ribbon and can be used well beyond the initial upgrade.
ConverterTechnology also offers other tools, such as DiscoverIT that can help enterprises inventory files at risk or of those that play a vital part in your business, and identify the files likely to cause problems, such as files containing VBA code and links.
Advanced planning can help prevent these problems. You can read more tips on how planning in advance helps avoid problems during and after a migration.