Madhav Kobal's Blog

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OpenOffice Migration

An office suite is an integral part of a company work flow and is essential for the daily business of most employees. So it is critical to plan and execute a migration carefully.

A migration process can be separated in six steps :

  • Implementing a test phase
    OpenOffice.org is to a large extent compatible with Microsoft Office but it is a different application with it is own capabilities and weaknesses, so a pilot is essential. This way you can identify issues that could affect the migration process as well as ensure that the workflow and exchange of documents work as intended.
  • Creating an inventory of tools and Microsoft Office dependent solutions
    There are a number of CRM, ERP among other applications which either depend on or provide interfaces to Microsoft Office. These applications need to be identified as they likely will need effort to get them to work with OpenOffice.org. Team leads or IT managers that need to know which custom solutions are being used, should consider using they could be addressed by questionnaires. Questionnaires have the advantage to get good insights on how these custom applications interact with Microsoft Office.
  • Identifying documents and macros that are still in use
    Moving to a new productivity environment also provides an opportunity for some “house cleaning”. Chances are that a good deal of the existing documents, templates, and business applications in your organization are no longer in use or will have outlived their usefulness after your move to from Microsoft Office. You can also have users identify the files that are shared between organizational units in your company or with outside partners that use Microsoft Office. Shared files that contain macros or complex formatting should be closely monitored for changes when they move between different office environments.
  • Organizing the migration team
    The size and make-up of your migration team will vary depending on the size and structure of your organization. The key role is the project manager, ideally a senior member of the IT department. The project manager visualizes the post migration environment, including potential trade-offs, based on company priorities, employee needs, and available resources. The project manager determines the scope of the migration from the information that was collected by the team on the current computing and document environments. The project manager then sets the time frame for converting documents and custom solutions as well as the deadline for using Microsoft Office in the organization.
  • Converting work-flow critical documents, templates and macros
    The new Calc VBA emulation layer of OpenOffice can convert some Microsoft Excel macros so they can run in OpenOffice.org. With Novell’s Edition of OpenOffice, your organization can still use its macros to increase productivity and to streamline workflow.
  • Training and post-deployment support
    Users could have new and somewhat different experiences with OpenOffice.org, since there will be conversion of documents and the use of new macros. As a result, your migration plan may also need to include training to help users become familiar with their new office suite. For example, users should be shown how to troubleshoot problems after a document has been converted. The training can be short as the user interface is familiar and users should be able to learn the new office suite fairly quickly.
 
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