Are you confused about when to upgrade your
version of Windows? Are you wondering what you're missing
in your Microsoft Office suite or if you'd be better protected
with newer software?
Today's tech tip will help you decide and
give you strategies and reasoning that successful organizations
with well-run Information Technology (IT) departments use.
First ask yourself the key question.
Do I collaborate on work documents, spread
sheets, or other work products with people outside my organization?
- NO, then there is no concern. Everyone within
an organization should operate on the same software version,
such as Microsoft Word or Intuit's QuickBooks. Intuit
offers a license for older QuickBooks' versions to ensure
consistency/continuity on all computers.
- If the answer is YES, consider if others need
to read, review, or comment on the work. A PDF file may
be the best choice, allowing everyone to see without making
changes. There are many PDF creation programs, ranging
from $649 for Adobe Acrobat (the original) to as low as
$40 for Print2PDF.
- If colleagues need to modify your work, you need to
standardize on a software suite, but not necessarily on
the same version. If you use a version of Microsoft Office
prior to 2007, and your colleague uses 2007, the Office
Compatibility Pack is ideal to see all files in the
newest formats with your Office 2003 or XP - and no need
to upgrade. Other software vendors have similar solutions.
Let's consider what many professional organizations,
such as 3M, Red Box, and General Motors do when it comes
to software upgrades.
You probably agree that running down to the
pharmacy for a new "miracle cure-all" pill is
not a good idea. You'd say, "Let somebody else be the
guinea pig, I'll wait until it's proven." So, why would
you do that to your business computer systems? Why would
you use unproven software? Yes, somebody has to be first
- but not you!
When IT professionals look at a new version
of Windows or other software we cringe. We see people wanting
to change for the sake of change. We quote statistics like
80% of users use 20% of the available features and that
20% use 80% of that same feature set.
- Let's take a look back at the time of Microsoft Windows
- January 1, 2002 Windows XP released to public.
- September 2002 Service Pack 1 released to public.
- February 2003 Service Pack 1a released to public.
- Late 2003, Windows XP is now considered mature enough
that professional and corporate IT personnel begin testing
and consider introducing it into the workplace. That's
almost two years after its release!
- August 2004 Service Pack 2 released to public.
- IT professionals hesitate to install Service Pack 2
as it's not proven, and stand correct when systems crash
due to its updates.
- October 2006, Internet Explorer 7 released
havoc rains on many computers as it's installed as an
automatic update without asking for user confirmation.
Users discover Web sites can't be viewed, printers don't
work, and other annoyances are numerous until Internet
Explorer 7 is uninstalled and they return to version 6
(tried and proven).
- September 2007 Service Pack 2c released to System Builders
- First half of 2008 Service Pack 3 due for release.
Well-run IT departments wait!
- They wait for proof that things not only work, but work
- We turn off automatic updates so we have stability and
not ever-changing computer setups.
- We test configurations and make sure they perform as
they're expected to.
Is the launch of Windows Vista, Microsoft Office, or
any other computer product ever going to be different?
Well, one hopes, but it's a fact that every
possible combination of hardware, software, and configuration
options can't be tested - so it can't change. There will
always be a need for Service Packs, updates, and hot fixes.
The question is do you want to be a tester or a stable user.
I know that stable is what's best for my clients when it
comes to their computers.
Do you want to be a tester or a stable