Office 2010 upgrade - our approach

  • By Mercia Group
  • 25 October 2011 00:00

We've just completed a month long upgrade to Office 2010. For the 20 or so technical staff that use laptops it was simply a matter of replacing Office 2003 with Office 2010, but for the 35 strong, office-based administration team - we also decided to upgrade to brand new desktops with Windows 7 as well. So as you can imagine it was quite a big task.How did we go about it and what was it like? In this blog we share some of our experiences with you, as well as some of the additional training material which we developed along the way....

Firstly, we did the bulk of testing and planning last year. Much of which was related to third-party software and various Office add-ins, to check full compatibility with Office 2010. Fortunately we were also able to discount a legacy Access 2000 database as this is going to be phased out next year - this would have been a bit of a headache to convert.

We also used the Microsoft Deployment resources: Microsoft Office 2010 and Deployment guide for Microsoft Office 2010 to check out various deployment options, and minimum hardware requirements.

The first test of our deployment procedures was last October - with one of sister companies and 10 'seats'. This went very well and only raised one or two issues which were easily resolved. So we now had a blueprint to go for the 'big one' this summer.

We already had existing training material from our Office 2010 courses, but decided to provide some extra collateral in the form of colour conversion charts for each application and a number of training videos. We have provided downloads of a sample of these, at the end of the blog.

We are now just coming to the end of a month long deployment process, which has gone well and the reaction from the users has been positive, they quickly got used to the new Office desktop. Inevitably one or two issues have cropped up - particularly with Word (we are big users of Word), but we are in the process of resolving these.

If you are just about to go through this particular upgrade process, the following summary of our approach may be useful to you:

  • Test third-party applications which link to and/or use any Office output (documents, worksheets, presentations, emails, Access database)
  • Plan the roll-out over a short a time-frame as possible
  • Establish the optimal deployment method, based on the number of machines and resource limitations
  • If possible have a pilot rollout, for a particular department or specific group of users
  • Provide sufficient and appropriate training materials
  • Allocate resources to provide hands-on training and assistance for at least the first couple of weeks after deployment
  • Expect the unexpected and be able to address 'show-stoppers' immediately
  • Run follow up workshop sessions to ensure all staff are aware of resolutions to all of the issues raised and are getting full use out of the applications.

Finally, the freebies Word 2010 colour navigation chart, Excel 2010 colour navigation chart and the Captivate video of Word navigation, editing and formatting.

If your experience was different to ours or you can add anything to this summary that will help others, please share.

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