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Planning and Implementing an Enterprise-Wide Migration

Discovering all of the Office files in your environment is often a more difficult task than anticipated. IT departments usually have a good idea of the amount of disk space used for file storage but may not know the number of files that they will need to migrate. Even more challenging, many Office files reside on users’ desktops and laptops. Finding and migrating these files can be the difference between a successful deployment of Office 2010 and a nightmare for the help desk team once Office 2010 has been deployed.

Scoping the size of the file migration has two major benefits: reduce the time required to migrate files and reduce the overall cost of the Office 2010 deployment. An entertainment company discovered that they faced a major challenge when they found they had over 14 million office files. They decided the files that would be most important and facing the largest risk were files that contained VBA, charts or links. This narrowed their target file set to 2 million. Business critical files were identified as the files last modified within the past 18 months. This enabled them to limit the overall scope to 300,000 files that were critical for a successful Office 2010 rollout.

Once the scope of the project has been properly defined the business critical files are copied to a migration lab. Although files can be scanned and converted in the live business environment, performing these tasks in a separate lab environment will limit the impact on users and the network during the file migration process.

Each file that has been copied to the migration lab needs to be scanned for compatibility issues. The issues that you encounter will range from differences in how charts are formatted to VBA code that will no longer run. Once a compatibility issue has been identified changes must be made to the file to correct each problem so that when Office 2010 is deployed to the desktops all of your employees can continue performing their daily tasks without interruption to the business.

Testing the migrated files is an important step in the process that is most overlooked. While many of the VBA changes needed to make a file compatible with Office 2010 can be automatically remediated, some will require manual effort. Data Access Pages in MS Access are one example where manual remediation is necessary. Beginning with the release of Office 2007, Data Access Pages can no longer be created or edited using VBA code in MS Access. Moving from Office 2003 means you must decide the best way to replace this functionality for you business.

Companies moving from Office 2003 (or earlier) to Office 2010 face an additional challenge: links between Office files. The new OOXML file format used with Office 2010 changes the extension of every Office file (for example, “.xls” becomes either “.xlsx” or “.xlsm”). A seemingly minor change at first glance that means every document that contains a link to another document will either fail to work or will point to an outdated set of data.

Once all of these steps have been completed it’s time to copy the migrated files back to your production environment and deploy Office 2010 to your employees. If you followed these steps carefully you can now enjoy the quiet that settles as your help desk phones stay silent.

Automating the process of identifying your file landscape, defining scope and scanning and remediating files can significantly reduce the cost of deploying Office 2010. ConverterTechnology’s suite of tools includes products to help with each step of the file migration process- from workflow management that is based on best practices developed over 10 years of helping companies move to new versions of Office, to file discovery tools for scoping, to automated tools for scanning and remediating Office files.

About ConverterTechnology:ConverterTechnology helps enterprises migrate to new versions of Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Office without the risks, costs, productivity loss, and headaches that typically arise from enterprise deployments. By delivering automated software that streamlines migrations along with the expertise to plan, execute, and report on successful enterprise migrations, ConverterTechnology helps companies accelerate their time to productivity with the Microsoft platform.  ConverterTechnology is headquartered in Nashua, N.H., with offices in California, Europe and Australia, and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Powerlan Limited.  For more information, visit www.convertertechnology.com.

About Author:Chip Bates, Director of Product Development, ConverterTechnology

Chip Bates has served as Software Quality Assurance (SQA) manager for  ConverterTechnology (www.convertertechnology.com) since  June 2006. As of July of 2008 he now serves as Director of Product Development. In his role he has established and managed all aspects of SQA. In addition he has managed the customer assessments process, provides customer support, and defines and schedules product enhancements. Chip brings 10+ years of experience in SQA and management at GreatPlains and most recently Microsoft.

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