Office 2010 Here We Come !!

Say what you want about the (Ef)Fluent UI (I love it when they don’t think through the possible bastardizations for a word – I especially liked “Back Orifice” – very clever), I think we have to accept that Microsoft has just laid it down and said “Ribbon – Get used to it !!”

I think that with the apparent success of Windows 7  (I’m enjoying it) I think we can assume that over the next 18 months a lot of companies will go to it – and I guess that most of those will bundle a move to Office 2010 at the same time in one pass to make it easier for them.  Having just set up a VPC with Windows 7 and Office 2010 I couldn’t help but think how reluctant corporations with thousands of users may be to do this too often.

So I think we can assume that we will see things moving fast on this front as IT departments try their darnedest to justify their existence until the economic tide turns (if ever).  Certainly there is the old “Wait for the first Service Pack” policy but I think we may see that get over-looked in an effort to “be seen to be doing something”.

When this finally happens I can see a lot of “need” for assistance making things like Excel and Access apps work in the new environments – work that hasn’t come up yet because so few have REALLY moved to O2007.  So NOW we need to seriously determine the issues they are going to have so we can look like heroes every time, and then we all have to get out and sell ourselves !!

While I have always thought that keeping my knowledge to myself amounted to protecting my Intellectual Property (why I have never gone after membership in the MVP program),  I am afraid that will have to change.  In the words of Ben Franklin (the great womanizer and philosopher – and politician) “We all have to hang together or we’ll all hang separately.”  We have to work at increasing the visibility of Excel and Access development as a “legitimate” endeavour, worth professional fees.  I think we will have to do it together.

Thoughts on how?


About Biggus Dickus

Dick is a consultant in London, ON Canada who specializes in Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Office Development.
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12 Responses to Office 2010 Here We Come !!

  1. JP says:

    Here’s a thought: Go on strike.

    If Access and Excel are so unimportant to the IT world, stop working and let them figure out how to solve business problems.

    I think pretty quickly they would see the benefit in these tools and give them (and their users) the respect they deserve.

  2. Dick Moffat says:

    Great idea – but do you really think anyone in authority would notice ???

    This weekend I was at some friends’ cottage and the wife was talking about how her company had a custom database designed some years ago, but when costs were cut they have had to watch it slowly fall apart with no support because they will not spend the money necessary to fix the app or replace it.

    And yet senior management screams every month for the same old report that is getting harder and harder to produce by hand. It has affected her annual review even though she is just the user !!!

    I see this all the time. Real people in organizations, to say nothibg of the organizations themselves, hurting because the companies refuse to consider this kind of work professional. And when IT gets involved they simply kill it and leave the users hanging.

    Most of the world’s corporations are held together by bad spreadsheets right now – not at the core of the business, but on the periphery where so much is done and where people are being let go every day – along with all their knowledge of whatever pieced together kludges they are relying on.

    The rubber is starting to hit the road and a lot of people will spin out. The bosses just aren’t going to get their beloved report some day – then what?

    It’s not a happy picture.


  3. Dick says:

    I’m surprised to hear that Excel knowledge is much of an asset to you. If I had to compete on Excel knowledge, I could name a dozen other consultants who would win every contract over me (maybe they are). I think once you get to a certain level, it’s hard to differentiate on use-of-tools knowledge, particularly to nontechnical people.

    As to your question, I don’t know. But I’ll be watching here to learn the answer. MS has their lips firmly planted on enterprise IT *ss, so you’ll get no help there. Also, I get some work because IT doesn’t understand what an Excel macro is – raising the visibility of the power could work against us in some cases.

    • Dick Moffat says:

      Hey Dick …..

      I have found more cases of “You’re too qualified” than of people who appreciate and respect that I might know a bit and be productive for them. I think you’re right though that it’s hard to differentiate after a certain point. That’s ok though because who’s to say who’s better than somebody else. I’m not competing with anyone up here (or anywhere for that matter). There aren’t really enough of us to bump into each other out in “the wilds”. That’s another reason why we can all work together to help us all.

      In the end individually we only need (or can handle) so many hours a year. The hard part is finding the potential projects and clients. I doubt we’ll bump into each other for quite a while as direct competitors,, 🙂


  4. JP says:

    Sorry but if you explain to your boss that they need someone to maintain the app, and they refuse, you are working at the wrong place.

    I guess I don’t understand the attitude. There is a real business need for these applications. Let IT build their systems, but the business productivity applications have their place as well.

    • Dick Moffat says:

      “Let IT build their systems, but the business productivity applications have their place as well.”

      Exactly – but how do we help the business get free of IT? I think we gotta talk it up – to clients and to Microsoft. I’ve got a ideas that I’ll spoon-feed out here over time.


  5. Dick says:

    Concur. All my work comes from referals from people who earn a living doing this stuff. I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

  6. Marcus from London says:

    “if you explain to your boss that they need someone to maintain the app…you are working at the wrong place.”

    Isn’t part of being a consultant to educate the business about problems they may not know they have and solutions they probably didn’t realise existed.

    “If I had to compete on Excel knowledge… other consultants who would win every contract over me”

    Good point. This is partly where domain knowledge and a network of colleagues and business users helps.

    Cheers – Marcus

    • JP says:

      “Isn’t part of being a consultant to educate the business about problems they may not know they have and solutions they probably didn’t realise existed.”

      Yes — hence my comment.

      FYI I was referring to the employee Dick was talking to, not the potential consultant.

  7. Simon says:

    I’m not convinced there will be a big move to O2010 any time soon (after its release next summer?).
    And I think client-side devs are in an odd position. IT hates us because we undercut their dream systems, and Microsoft know their company was built on fat client, but they are selling to IT who hates that. So MS has to make like there is no love, but chuck us the odd bone to keep us on-side. And all the time trying to divert us to something they think will help them sell to IT.
    How to boost the ‘professionalness’?
    Get on the front page of the IT press and the business press with tales of fast delivery, under budget, fit for purpose business systems.
    (Good luck with that, Excel/Access/VBA is SO 1990’s (hey, 1997 called, they want their IDE back!))
    I think if we all wrote about OpenOffice/Starbasic conversions MS might find a few dollars to talk up O2010 client development.
    Anyone for OOoCon in Italy in Nov?

  8. Harlan Grove says:

    FWIW, where I work there was a gawdawful mix of Windows NT4, Windows 2000 and Windows XP with Office 97 and Office XP up to spring 2007. Then everyone was upgraded to Windows XP and Office 2003. I know first hand that no one other than perhaps the top 10 execs may have received new PCs in the last 2+ years, but they’re running Windows XP and Office 2003.

    Maybe we’ll upgrade to Windows 7 within 2 years, but it’s much less certain we’ll be ‘upgrading’ to a newer Office version any time soon. Myself, I was using Office 97 until summer 2006 when I was the first person at my location upgraded to Office XP. So 9 years after Office 97’s release I was upgraded to an Office version that was just 5 years from original release, then a year later upgraded to an office version merely 4 years from original release. If the company holds to form, we’ll upgrade to Office 2010 between 2013 and 2015.

    For myself at home, I’m running Linux at least half the time, and Windows XP/Office 2000 and OpenOffice 3.x otherwise.

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