Microsoft Office 2007 was well ahead of its time; introducing features like an intuitive ‘Ribbon’ user interface, a more compact and robust file format, and hundreds of document enhancements for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. No other productivity suite came close to matching Office 2007, making it the go-to software for most organisations.

After 10 years, it is still being used by some small- and medium-sized businesses; but there comes a time where every piece of technology reaches its end of life. As of October 10, 2017, Office 2007 is retired; which means those who remained faithful during the software’s 10-year existence will have to switch to a younger model. Here’s why.

What happens?

When a Microsoft product reaches its end of life, the feature updates, security patches, and general support for that product will no longer be provided.

This means starting 10/10/17, users with Office 2007 are completely vulnerable to the latest cyberattacks; including ransomware, spyware, and other forms of malware. In addition, should they experience any glitches; Microsoft’s technical support staff will no longer troubleshoot and answer Office 2007-related queries.  Of course, this also means that users won’t be able to purchase a new Office 2007 licence from the Microsoft website.

Why is Microsoft doing this?

Microsoft constantly rethinks their products, offering new productivity-boosting features and customisations to stay competitive. To get more users to adopt their latest applications, they need to phase out older models.

As such, Microsoft Office products typically have a 10-year support lifecycle from the date of the product’s public release.

What should you do?

Upgrading to a supported Microsoft Office product sooner rather than later is highly recommended if you don’t want IT costs to pile up.

While extending the life of an outdated program is possible; it usually comes at a much higher price because you have to find a specialist who knows how to manage legacy systems. This forces you to take a reactive approach to IT maintenance; and you have to wait for your technician to develop a patch specifically for your problem.

Office 2007 also lacks the robust productivity features modern businesses require; so it just doesn’t make sense to stick with it in the long run. Instead, you should upgrade to a current Microsoft Office version like Office 365 or Office 2016.

Office 2016 offers the newest versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook, and is installed on-premises. Much like the outgoing 2007 version; 2016 is sold upfront and works for one computer per licence. If you don’t have enough in your budget to purchase enough licences; you can always opt for Office 365.

With Office 365, you pay a monthly subscription for access to Office 2016 from your web browser or mobile app, plus extra features like OneDrive and Skype for Business. Also it’s hosted in the cloud; which means Microsoft releases feature updates and security patches via the internet as soon as they’re available.

Review system requirements

Before upgrading to either Office 2016 or 365, check the minimum system requirements. If you’re using machines as old as Office 2007, you’ll likely need to consider hardware and network upgrades as well.

To run Office 2016, you need to have at least a 1GHz processor, 2GB of RAM, 3GB of available storage, and a Windows 7 operating system (although we strongly suggest you opt for Windows 10).

Office 365’ system requirements are virtually the same, but since it relies on the internet, you also need to make sure you have a fast and stable network to fully utilise all its features. Consider provisioning around 8-10 Mbps per person so they can use bandwidth-intensive applications like Skype for Business without issue.

Prepare for deployment

Once you’ve verified the system requirements, calculate how many licences you’ll need to purchase for each user and inform your employees about the major upgrade. At this point, you should also be thinking about setting up tutorials so your employees can quickly master the new software.

Then, find a trusted managed services provider that can expertly prepare your networks, hardware, operating systems, and data for the transition.

Office 2007 has had a good run, and we’re sure many will be sad to see it go. But if you truly want to get an edge over your competition, your equipment needs to be cutting-edge, too. Here at Empower IT, we provide quick and seamless migration services to Office 2016 and Office 365.

As a Microsoft Certified Partner, we ensure your Microsoft products are supported and well-protected. Call us today to evaluate our products, expertise, and robust service-level agreements.

 

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