In an earlier post about Windows 10, I suggested the product was worthy of review. Based on Microsoft’s currently announced strategies, we recommend adoption as soon as your software is compatible. Further, Microsoft Office is being revised, and is likely to be released under the name Microsoft Office 2016. While Office 2016 is not a “must have” upgrade like Office 2013 was, there are enough improvements, including Mac support, that strategically it makes sense to get your organization on both of these Microsoft offerings as soon as it is reasonable for you.
Again, make sure you test your applications for compatibility. We expect some applications to not work properly, but a good working rule is: If the application works on Windows 7 or 8, it will work with Windows 10. If the applications work with Office 2010 or 2013, they will likely work with Office 2016.
Editor’s Note: Randy Johnston is a top rated technology speaker at the annual Sleeter Group SleeterCon. Microsoft expects to have one billion copies of Windows 10 in use within one year after release.
Why Move to Windows 10?
Microsoft has made this decision pretty easy. Plus, the technology seems to be working well.
- FREE upgrade for Windows 7, 8 or XP users, but you must register to receive the upgrade before the release date, currently July 29, and for XP users install a current beta of Windows 10.
- Indications are that Windows 10 will continue to be supported for free for 3-4 years.
- The addition of XP as a free upgrade is a relatively recent addition. We have gone back to hardware that was designed for Windows XP, installed Windows 10, and the experience was quite acceptable.
- The user interface works for either touch screen or non-touch users.
- Application snapping makes using larger monitors much better by providing a simple way to open four windows simultaneously using the Windows key.
- Navigating to files on your local machine is enhanced by having 20 recently used files accessible along with other pinned folders.
- If you are using Microsoft Cloud technologies, like OneDrive, there is support throughout the system.
- The product seems fast, stable and productive.
- The biggest risk is Microsoft’s replacement web browser for Internet Explorer, called Edge. If you are a QuickBooks Online user, you already know you really need to use Chrome. The new minimalist browser is too minimal and buggy as of this writing.
- And did I mention it is FREE?!?
Why Move to Office 2016?
Microsoft has not announced the availability date or the final feature set as of this writing. However, subscribers to Office 365 will get this product as part of their subscription, as will users that are on Open Licenses with Software Assurance.
- Most of the features seem to be about integration to Microsoft collaboration strategies and Office 365
- Outlook seems faster and has new filtering capabilities
- PowerPoint has new presentation tools
- Word has new formatting controls
- Excel has extended formatting controls and People Graphs
- OneNote has slight editing improvements
- And so on
- However, there are user interface changes to support touch screens
One key change in Office 2016 that will affect many of you is direct support of Office 2016 on the Mac, almost completing the convergence of the Office product lines for Windows and Mac into a single offering. Feature parity isn’t perfect, but it is close. Part of the reason this is needed is to enable the extremely interesting and useful feature of application streaming in Office 365. Although I don’t know this for a fact, it seems that streaming will allow Microsoft to support all common platforms: Windows, Mac, Mobile, and—later this year—Android and iOS. In the meantime, the web applications in Office 2016 continue to get stronger and more feature-rich so Microsoft can effectively compete against Google Apps. Further, the web applications minimize the need for a local instance of Microsoft Office or streaming.
Windows 10 runs perfectly well with Office 2013, but there are subtle and useful changes in Office 2016 if you regularly use a touch screen. Those of you who know me well have noted that I won’t buy another computer without touch screen support. It is part of the reason I have stopped using all Mac computers…too much loss of productivity.
By the way, I’m certainly not anti-Mac, anti-Google, anti-Zoho, anti-OpenOffice or anti any other products that do their job well. I am pro security, speed, productivity and compatibility. I believe Microsoft has earned their market position again with the release of these two products, Windows 10 and Office 2016. Even though you may be trying for an all-cloud strategy, most of you will continue to use the Microsoft Office suite locally for maximum speed, flexibility and power. Over time, we will discover that the browser versions of these products may be “good enough” to do everything, but that day is not here yet for those of us with large models, or for those times when we don’t have Internet access. Windows 10 and Office 2016 have both taken clear steps toward enabling transparent synchronization to your private Microsoft Storage and collaboration with others using that cloud-based storage.
Although we usually discuss technology in the context of what should be considered in future purchases, this release of both Windows 10 and Office 2016 should be adopted sooner rather than later. Your costs should be minimal, and your learning curve should not be too steep. Further, I’m forecasting your productivity will go up from these products that run faster, with stability, and with more usability than any release we have seen to date.
Randy Johnston and his NMGI team provide IT consulting services and recommendations to Sleeter Group Consultants Network members as a benefit and part of their membership. If you have questions on any hardware, software, procedures, or IT strategies for your firm, contact email@example.com with your questions or to schedule a time to speak.