COMMENT ON THIS ARTICLE
Much has been said about the potential difficulties that Microsoft's Office 2007 revamped user interface has in store for computer users.
However, some organizations that have had time to tinker with the software that will supplant Office 2003, report positive user experience and improved productivity.
It seems the initial shock of realizing the File menu has disappeared (replaced by the colourful Office button) has worn off.
Some early Canadian corporate users – at least those present at the application’s business launch in Toronto, Thursday - found much to like in the new Office software.
Surprise was a common reaction among users that found Office 2007 revealed functions previously hidden in Office 2003, according to Steve Driz, director of enterprise solutions and chief privacy officer (CPO) at Ontario March of Dimes, Canada (OMOD), a non-profit organization dedicated to creating a society inclusive of people with physical disabilities.
Driz, who attended yesterday’s launch of Office 2007 and the Windows Vista 2007 operating system in Toronto, said OMOD "employees were surprised to find the functions right in front of them."
The province's largest non-profit rehabilitation organization, OMOD has been using a portal based on Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 for nearly a year now.
It was developed for them by Bell Business Solutions Inc. and Internet software developer Envision IT of Mississauga, Ont.
Computer users at Mt. Sinai Hospital (MSH) in Toronto liked the easy access to information and greater control over data that Office 2007 provided, said Susan Walsh, director of quality and performance measurement, MSH.
"The newer spreadsheet program in Office 2007 has some built-in business intelligence (BI) functions, that allow users to drill down into data," said Walsh.
Office 2007's radical departure from the interface of the popular program was a concern raised by many analysts when Microsoft first revealed that it was replacing the familiar File, Edit, View and Insert menu system menus with a new UI feature called "ribbon" .
The ribbon, which is essentially a function bar appearing above the Office 2007 screen, contains graphic buttons for frequently features.
There will be an initial loss of productivity as users try to adjust to the new UI, but this will be short lived, according to Michelle Warren, analyst for Toronto-based consultancy group Evans Research Corp.