Blogger: Guy Creese
In December, we published a report on alternatives to Microsoft Office (Productivity Suite Proliferation: Is It Time to Ditch Microsoft Office?) and it's been a very popular report. In fact, at the moment it's the top document listed within the CCS Hot Topics box on the CCS home page. The others in order are:
- Field Research Study: Social Networking within the Enterprise
- Website Governance: Guidance for Portals, SharePoint, and Intranets
- Web Content Management Systems: Managing Web Presence in a 2.0 World
- Content Authoring in the Enterprise 2.0 Age
If you add in Craig Roth's Content Authoring in the Enterprise 2.0 Age, reports on information worker tools make up 2/5 of our most popular reports. This interest has been reflected in shifts in Dialogue topics as well. For me, replacing Office is now my most popular Dialogue topic. And it's not just quick conversations. Next week I will spend an entire day at a client, helping it think through alternatives to Office. (Its Office license is coming up for renewal and Microsoft is refusing to budge on pricing; due to this company's situation in this economy, the company literally cannot afford it.)
Looking at alternatives to Microsoft Office is a marked change from three or four years ago, where if you'd posited tossing out Microsoft Office people would have looked at you as if you were crazy. But a lot has changed since that time. First, as I note in the report, there are now a lot more options. Second, as Microsoft starts to pitch Office 14, companies are thinking, "I'm going to have to move anyway. Now's the time to look at alternatives." Finally, some companies are really hurting financially right now, and the Office license fee can literally run millions of dollars in large companies. Figure out a way to save millions of dollars in this economy, and you're a hero.
I bring all of this up because when I initially talk to clients they're usually somewhat apologetic at even bringing up the subject. They sort of hem and haw and beat around the bush. Eventually I usually say, "Let me guess. At the moment you're paying millions of dollars in Office license fees to Microsoft. You've gone to Microsoft looking for relief and Microsoft continues to extract its pound of flesh. At this point, you're trying to figure out how you can save money on productivity suite licensing while not losing essential functionality, right?" At this point, there's usually a sigh of relief on the other end of the phone and the response is, "Yes, that's exactly right. How did you know?"
So if you're thinking the same thing, don't be shy. Many of your peers are asking the exact same question. Whether you can actually replace Office depends on your specific situation, but asking the question is a good thing to do. If you do the due diligence now, you won't have nagging doubts in the future. You'll either save a lot of money by displacing Office and feel good about the trade-offs, or you'll decide that Office is still the best solution for you.