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Survey: Few IT Pros Have Deployed Office 2010

An industry-sponsored survey of IT professionals found that just four percent have deployed Microsoft Office 2010, although interest remains high in the productivity suite.

The survey was conducted in September by Dimensional Research for Dell Kace, a maker of appliance-based software management and deployment products. Using a Web survey, the views of 935 IT pros were polled. Questions centered on Office 2010 and Windows 7 deployment plans. Almost half (45 percent) of the respondents were IT pros, with IT managers and IT execs making up the mix.

Microsoft released its Office 2010 product in June, but more than 52 percent of the survey respondents had "not deployed Office 2010 in any way, even in a test lab," according to the report, "Office 2010 Adoption: A Survey of Technology Professionals," published this month.

Still, the lack of deployment did not seem associated with lack of interest, as 85 percent of respondents stated that they "plan to eventually deploy Office 2010." The stumbling blocks to deploying Office 2010, according to the respondents, included the Ribbon user interface (45 percent), "incompatibility with add-in applications" (33 percent) as well as questions about compatibility with document formats (.DOC, .XLS, .PPT) used in Office 2003 (33 percent).

It's unclear if the IT pros actually experienced those problems since 52 percent of respondents hadn't deployed Office 2010 in any way. However, 78 percent of respondents had "concerns about Office 2010."

Office 2010 uses the Office Open XML document format (.DOCX, .XLSX, .PPTX) that was standardized under the Ecma standards body (ECMA-376). A modified form of this Ecma standard was later released as an international standard in November of 2008 as ISO/IEC 29500:2008, incorporating numerous changes to the initial 6,000-page draft. However, the Office 2010 product released in June is based on the earlier ECMA-376 version, for the most part.

Of those respondents planning "a broad deployment of Office 2010," 42 percent said that it would happen "sometime next year." Rob Meinhardt, Dell Kace president, commented that "that’s more than enough tipping point to accelerate Office 2010 more broadly." Most (72 percent) plan to use free tools or to manually migrate to Office 2010, rather than use commercial migration tools (28 percent).

On Windows migration plans, most (92 percent) of the survey respondents said that they planned to skip Vista and move directly to Windows 7. The IT pros surveyed were less reluctant to skip Office 2007. For instance, of those upgrading to Office 2010 from Office 2003, only 37 percent said they'd skip Office 2007. Some respondents planned a combined OS and Office migration, according to the survey.

"Some Office migration will come with the Win 7 upgrade (38% are combining migrations)," Meinhardt noted. "For the rest, once users get used to Win 7, they're going to want Office 2010 to complete the picture."

The survey included some seemingly odd results, such as the 48 percent of respondents who said they would continue to use Windows XP without support. Microsoft plans to end support for Windows XP in April 2012, which means that users will no longer receive regular security patches for the operating system. Meinhardt speculated that XP will continue to be used, but not across the organization, in such cases.

"My sense is that 48 percent will use XP in isolated areas of their business where it's cost prohibitive to move a customer application to Win 7," Meinhardt stated via e-mail. "This is consistent with what we saw with Win 98. It's not that 48 percent of customers will use XP as their primary OS."

The survey also found that alternative productivity suites have made some inroads. The most frequently used Office alternative was OpenOffice.org (18 percent), followed by Google Docs (10 percent).

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.

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