Rollouts of Office 2007 are on the rise, but are there caveats you haven't considered? The folks at ConverterTechnology think so, and although I love Office 2007 and its ribbon interface, I recognize that not everyone does or has even yet made the switch from a previous version.
I can understand that. In my youth I went through extensive training at the financial services company Goldman Sachs for Office products. I became better than proficient, eventually moving into support and training. I then studied and passed my first certification in a long line of certs: the Word 97 Expert exam. Office 97 was an exciting release and filled with all sorts of new features. From that time forward, I hadn't enjoyed another Office release until 2007 came my way. In fact, I stopped upgrading after Office 2000. But lo and behold: a ribbon interface! Some have questioned its necessity. But with 1,500-plus commands to navigate, Microsoft clearly needed a better way, and the ribbon was a tremendous improvement.
[ Not sure you want to make the Office 2007 leap? Check out Office alternatives, as rated by InfoWorld Test Center. ]
But I've digressed. The folks at ConverterTechnology raise some reasonable concerns that if addressed can help enterprise admins solve any that might affect their deployments. Considering the fact that Microsoft support for Office 2000 is set to expire in July 2009, you may be actively looking at an Office 2007 upgrade for your business.
Concern No. 1: Business-critical files can be at risk. Many Office files are heavily customized using Visual Basic for Applications. Organizations need to address changes in the VBA object model for Office 2007 to prevent existing custom code from failing in business critical files.
Concern No. 2: Broken links. The new file format in Office 2007 changes the filename extension from three to four characters (.doc to .docx), which will break many existing links to existing Office files when they are converted to Office 2007 format.
Concern No. 3: Incompatible files. Exchanging files outside the enterprise may be problematic. Users can't be certain whether or not the people receiving the files are using Office 2007 or if they have downloaded a compatibility plug-in to read Office 2007 file formats. Also, in a Windows-Mac environment, Office 2008 (the Mac's version of Office 2007) does not support VBA scripts and apps, as its previous version did, so file sharing for many spreadsheets and other documents is severely limited.