Over the Thanksgiving holiday week our entire office upgraded from Outlook 2003 to Outlook 2007, and also upgraded from ‘normal email’ to a MS Exchange server. This transition, like many, had its hiccups. First and foremost spell check no longer worked for me. And when you are as horindus a spellar as I am, spell check is an absolute must. It turns out since I was on Word 2003 that spell check feature no longer worked for Outlook. So I had to upgrade to Office 2007 as well just to get that feature working again. And when you do as much work as I do in both Word and Excel, this upgrade came with a huge loss in productivity as none of my menu commands are in the same places they used to be. Plus our entire sales force lost access to our ACT database. Fortunately this is a short term problem since we are launching our own killer Contact Management System in January.
The color-coded follow-up flags in Outlook also no longer exist. There is a new concept of categories that I had to get used to in order to arrange my inbox by type of follow-up action item I had. And if that was not enough, I now also had duplicate contacts and a duplicate calendar. And when I first booted up my machine I had about 27 Outlook reminders going off… some of which were from months ago.
I am a huge technology geek and typically love having the latest and greatest gadgets. But when messing with your ‘day to day’ stuff, it is important from a planning perspective for all offices to be cognizant of the very sizable learning curve and loss of productivity you may receive from your employees in the short term. On the surface it may make sense to make a change like this during a holiday week; but my devil’s advocate theory to that is that when your employees return to the office after being gone for 6 days, they kind of need to play a little catch up anyway. So maybe large scale upgrades like this are better suited for midnight Thursday night on a normal week, that way everyone at the office has had the week to prepare for the change and make sure they are caught up with their current workloads.