Upgrading Your Office Ahead of Your SharePoint?

September 11 2010 No comments yet

If you just got to upgrade your office to 2010 ahead of upgrading your MOSS, please read this article.

During the last couple of years I have run through a bunch of client cases where MOSS represented a new era for document management especially for the Office Documents. The preceding document management systems comprised mainly of shared network drives – and if you were lucky – maybe a naming policy and a set of standardized folders. It was quite easy and convincing to state, that it is highly recommended to pair the Office 2007 and MOSS roll outs. The benefits were obvious: taking advantage of the interconnected features and training the end users with less effort. Binding the Office user interface to the Document Library site columns through content types was a story of the decade.

Nowadays the world is full of MOSS installations with gigabytes of content. We’re seeing more and more migration projects to 2010. Upgrade from MOSS to 2010 is quite a task. If you have tailored anything, the migration is not likely to be cheap. On the other hand, upgrading your Office suite to 2010 before upgrading your SharePoint should be a quick win. If you read the brochures, Office system is backwards compatible with the previous version of SharePoint, offering new features and a nifty user interface. Introducing your organization with the latest version of Office should also make your end users ready for the migration. Right?

Riiiight. Instead I’d recommend starting with a proof of concept for the upgrade and running through your Office test cases from the previous deployment of SharePoint. Add the most important processes supported by MOSS, create new test cases and see how they fall through. If all this looks good, build a small pilot team of power users, that uses the newer version of Office with the older version of SharePoint. Make them do their work for at least a couple of weeks and report anything that even smells trouble.

Experience has shown that there might be something funky going on under the hood in this setting especially when it comes to the customized content types and Office interoperability. The Software Assurance licencing model might make a hast rush into the Office suite upgrade a bit too lucrative option. Keep your head while considering the upgrade path and have a downgrade option available.

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