I’ve been working for for some time now with many big corporations on software upgrades and training projects, as well as helping smaller businesses make the most of the software they already have! Many companies are now finding time running out to upgrade their systems before Microsoft withdraws support for Windows XP in April 2014 so they will take the opportunity to upgrade their Microsoft Office software at the same time – but how do they gain the maximum benefit from the new software?
You are risking working in software that’s no longer supported.
You won’t be protected by service packs from Microsoft any more so is that a risk you are prepared to take? I have recently worked in an older version of Windows and I can tell you that is so frustrating after having used the latest version – 8.1. Even if you are not working on a touch screen, later versions of Windows are so much faster and easier to navigate; if you are upgrading your Operating System why not also upgrade your version of Microsoft Office?
You’ll be left behind if you don’t…
For the past 3 months I’ve been working in older software and although you can say that many of the main facilities of programs like Word are still there – but when you go backwards you really see how much more efficient the latest software is! Some software not included in Office but fairly popular with many companies such as Microsoft Project, and our favourite email and organisational tool that IS part of Microsoft Office is transformed in newer versions and you can really cut down how long it takes to do things – and the buttons on the ribbons now make it easier to find some of your favourite features.
You are not taking advantage of new features
There are some fantastic new features from Office 2010 onwards that you really ought to check out. I use the Tables in Excel all the time now with pretty much every list I type in. I use new productive ways of working such as Quick Parts in Word and Excel, and Quick Steps in Outlook every day! The interactivity between packages and Microsoft OneNote means you can bring all your information together and become so organised.
Your staff are not working as productively as they could be
It happens everywhere: businesses install new IT systems but their PC users only scratch the surface of the systems’ capability. If you use up-to-date software and have some IT training you can capitalise on efficiency by learning shortcuts and how to use the fantastic features in Microsoft Office. In a recent Return On Investment (ROI) exercise a colleague was found to have gained 400% ROI – in other words she was able to do 4 times as much work in the same time! Imagine that rolled out across an organisation!
Work in the cloud
Work collaboratively with colleagues or even connect to your own files via SkyDrive and Microsoft Office web apps. Imagine being able to work collaboratively in the same document at the same time as a colleague in a different location and see them altering the document as you do! There’s some neat new features so why not at least have a look with a free 30 day trial? I’m writing a series of blogs about what’s new and what works in the web apps.
For the past three months in a large pharmaceutical company I’ve been training not just scientists (and found they are exactly the same as everyone else when it comes to learning Excel despite their high IQ!) but PAs and Administrators, Project Managers and lab assistants. Some of the training has been traditional classroom based and some has been via Webex around the world to class members based in India, Sweden, Belgium, France and the USA! It’s quite something to have a truly international class learning 5 Ways to be More Productive Using Microsoft Outlook!
I guess it shows no matter how large or small the firm, whatever sector – people still benefit enormously from learning how to use their software more efficiently. There’s a proven link between people’s confidence with IT and the likelihood that the organisation will get full value from their systems. We find it’s all in the way our clients introduce new technology and prepare their people to use it.