Archive for September, 2008

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Thinking Of Upgrading Your Software?

September 10, 2008

Think Again! 

No, I don’t mean “don’t do it” I mean think about it once again. 

Why do you want to upgrade and who will it affect? I recently had to make that decision myself as to upgrading from Office 2002, so I am sharing my own thought processes.

5 Things to Consider:

1. Others 

Will others be affected by the change?  Will employees, vendors, customers, clients or service providers, have difficulties interfacing with you?  Remember, if you make it difficult for people to work with you, they may choose to go elsewhere!

2. Compatibility

Are there programs that you simply must use in the course of your business? Will the new software be compatible? If file sharing is something you do, will others that share your files have problems accessing what you have done with their older versions of the same program?

3. “Buggy” Software

Some software is notoriously “buggy” when first released.  Others work like a charm.  Do your homework.  If the one you are considering is one that has a tendency to be “buggy” do you have the patience to work through the problems until a service pack is provided to address those issues?  If not, you may want to wait until those issues have been addressed. 

4. Opinions

If you belong to a network of people in your industry, ask their opinion.  Get a consensus based on people with your same skill level and level of patience. Is this something you can quickly pick up on your own, or are you going to need to take a class or e-course to bring yourself up to speed?

5. New and/or multiple computers

This is the one case where it is more important (from a financial standpoint) to determine if you should downgrade the new computer or upgrade the old, or perhaps run both versions on different computers.  Think long and hard how you can best serve: Your customer base, your patience level, and your personal learning curve.  If you have one or more computers running on an older platform it may be financially sound to consider a downgrade for the newer computer.  On the other hand, having the ability to switch back and forth from older to newer might make it a win-win.

Ultimately, the decision is yours! 

As for myself, I made the decision to go with the newer software. This decision was made because I had to replace my desktop and my laptop within a few months of each other.  Both computers came with Vista.  I asked my colleagues for their advice and several of them have said, once they got used to it, they preferred Office 2007 to older versions. Fortunately, my client base is such that an upgrade will go unnoticed. I considered taking classes through the local Adult Education, but have set that on the back burner for now.  I know from past experience this is a great resource for bringing my skill level up to date.

Community Colleges and Adult Education: Great ways to increase your awareness and update your skills. Using your favorite search engine, type in the name of your city and either “Adult Education” or “Community College” to find a school close to you. Most will have the curriculum online and many offer online courses as well.

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