The ROI of manual file remediation versus automated tools

In a previous article we discussed how you can effectively remediate files during an Office migration.  After migrating to a new version of Microsoft Office, users often have files pulling old data or linking incorrectly. Without identifying and fixing the files, business decisions are made on misinformation. Hidden file problems can result in significant errors, tremendous expense, decreased productivity, compliance violations and ruined reputations.

Enterprises have three options when considering how to deal with files remediation during migration. But, how do each of these approached affect the ROI?


Approach 1: Fix on Fail. Enterprises that take the fix on fail approach do save on  software and resource cost of deploying an automated remediation tool, but also create chaos for end users and IT department. End users’ productivity is delayed as they need technical support and have to wait for IT to fix file issues. If the issue requires complex remediation, the delay can last longer than expected, and IT will need to divert resources away from important activities. Associate the cost of manual remediation – find, test, open and fix – with more than 5 million files, like most enterprises have, and you’ll realize how costly fixing these kind of issues can get. Enterprises that take this approach run the risk of having so many file issues that IT could get over-capacity and employees productivity could decrease for an extended time.

Approach 2: Microsoft’s free migration tools.  Microsoft provides a free set of tools including Microsoft Assessment and Planning Toolkit (MAP) and the Office Migration Planning Manager (OMPM). OMPM offer a three-tier, color-coding system to classify the level of migration issues found in each file when conducting a light scan. OMPM does not automatically remediate files with issues. It can help IT professionals assess the compatibility of older Office documents to the newer formats, but Microsoft’s suite of free tools are not the most effective choice, since it requires IT to process files twice—once for scanning and once for conversion to Office 2010, and then open and scan each file individually to ensure that they migrated successfully.

Approach 3: OfficeConverter. OfficeConverter is a third-party tool that speeds up the Office file scanning and conversion processes. The solution scans files for potential data loss similar to OMPM, but also provides detailed information about Visual Basic compatibility issues, and links to other files. Each file scanned is assigned a numeric severity based on the most severe issue contained in the file. This helps IT prioritize which files to address first. Although, OfficeConverter requires initial training, it is intuitive enough for an IT staff to use without additional vendor support.

OfficeConverter requires a software investment, but the return on investment is high when considering the resource time that will be significantly reduced.

The automation capabilities of OfficeConverter minimize the need for manual efforts, reducing costly and time consuming aspects of an enterprise-wide migration program.