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Life after Office

posted Sep 1, 2014, 11:58 PM by Francois Tricot   [ updated Mar 19, 2015, 2:33 AM ]
Life After Office
Since the 90's, and still now, it's hard to imagine a computer without Microsoft Office installed on it. Or at least Word/Excel/Powerpoint.

However, the recent innovation in document collaboration did not come from these tools. Google and some other players from the Internet designed tools working mostly in a browser, storing documents mostly on web servers, benefiting from the always on Internet connection to allow document editor to collaborate in real on the documents.

And at Ceva, we are using Google Apps for Business since more than 5 years now, and we have seen year after year all the improvements made by Google to its document suite to reach a really interesting set of capabilities, making it now a potential replacement for Word/Excel/Powerpoint in most cases.

So we decided to start to reduce our dependency on Microsoft Word/Excel/Powerpoint and to increase our use of Google Drive/Docs/Sheets/Slides.
We launched a study thanks to Softwatch in order to analyze our current use of Microsoft Office and found that :
  • More than 80% of Ceva employees are using Word less than 60 minutes a week, Excel less than 90 minutes a week, with 15% never using it
  • More than 95% of Ceva employees are using Powerpoint less than 60 minutes a week, with 40% never using it
Every year since our first days with Google Apps, we assessed our situation to see if we could stop using Microsoft tools for at least 3 main reasons :
  • Modern collaboration is about collaborative writing, easy sharing, a single document instead of multiple copies, access anywhere from any device. Google Docs is superior to Microsoft Office in all these domains, even if Microsoft tries to fill the gap.
  • Ceva's technical IT Strategy is to be able to use all devices with minimum requirements (= a browser) to perform all tasks from everywhere, without a prior complex configuration of the device. Using Office requires installation of a software, on a computer managed by Ceva, meaning a Windows computer with a given version of Windows and of Office. Using Google Apps requires a modern browser on any type of computer.
  • Avoid Microsoft Office license costs.

After 25 years of Microsoft Office domination, there are quite some dependencies we have to reduce if we want to be successful. We are even not going to be able to remove them all. But we still can do a lot.
The main difficulty seems to be Change Management. Indeed, most people have been used for so long to Microsoft Office that it could be a pain for them to use another tool - whatever - for their daily tasks.
  • We can remove completely Office without any user complaining on about 15% of our computers. They just don't use it.
  • We can teach 65% of other users how to do with Google Apps what they were doing with Microsoft Office.
  • We can let 20% of people continue to use Microsoft Office for things that are not feasible in Google Apps documentation tools. Such as Excel for Finance because of existing thousands of or Word for R&D because of very large documents.
That's a 80% savings. Not that bad.

So we have started our journey. We named the project "CevApps 2.0" (link).
Some have been quicker than others to reduce their dependency on Microsoft Office and to use Google Apps productivity suite. Around me, people are using Google Sheets, Docs and Slides and Drive every day. I rarely use Microsoft Office. But I still can read and even modify the Microsoft Office files I receive from time to time with Google Apps. (more information). I never - never - create a new document using Office or an Office format. Since more than a year now.

Google Drive on Ceva App Store