Office 2007: 8 Great Reasons to (Finally) Upgrade

Almost a year ago, I wrote a column titled "10 reasons not to upgrade to Office 2007." At that time, ConverterTechnology, a company that assists with enterprise migrations to newer versions of Microsoft Office, provided a list of 10 legitimate concerns decision makers should be aware of before deploying Office 2007. Well, in an ever-changing world, the folks at Converter Technology have revised their position due to a number of recent factors.

The encouragement is not necessarily to wait for Office 2010, which I'm still personally up in the air about, although my esteemed colleagues Randall C. Kennedy (see "Why I hate Office 2010") and Neil McAllister (see "Office 2010: At last, the suite that users built") have made up their minds.

[ Read the InfoWorld Test Center's Office 2010 preview. | See why Randall C. Kennedy hates Office 2010, but why Neil McAllister likes Office 2010. | Judge for yourself: View our Office 2010 slideshow. ]

I have to admit, Office 2007 really wowed me and I switched over immediately. After working with the preview and now beta version of Office 2010, I am hesitant to give a green light just yet, although the collaboration aspects are truly magnificent, especially if you are ready for a SharePoint 2010 deployment as well. What would sell me on the Office 2010 suite is the connection between the server counterparts (Outlook 2010 and Exchange 2010, for example.)

Whatever you think of Office 2010, the folks at ConverterTechnology say not to wait for Office 2010, but instead to upgrade to Office 2007 now. They state:

Software support, file migration, and productivity losses are just a few of the issues that put a company at risk if IT decides to hold off on migrating to Office 2007, the most current version. Just as being an early adopter of new software holds few rewards for most businesses, being a laggard adopter isn't worth the downside, either. Trying to leapfrog several generations of software revs at once could fall short and cost your organization more time, pain and money in the long run.

Here are eight reasons that have been outlined by Chip Bates, ConverterTechnology's director of product development, on why your organization should no longer wait to upgrade to Office 2007, and the benefits you will realize when you make the move:

1. Reduced disk space usage
The zipped XML-based file format, called OOXML, used by Office 2007 can be significantly smaller than the binary files used by Office 2003. The savings in file size varies depending on the application, with text-heavy documents (such as Excel and Word) gaining the largest benefit. Sample files have shown a range of PowerPoint 2007 files that are 18 percent smaller than the PowerPoint 2003 files to Excel 2007 files that are 50 percent smaller than the Excel 2003 versions.

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