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Why should a small business use Office 2007


Once again I thought I would put pen to e-paper on the top reasons I give people to move to Office 2007.  I don't think there are many businesses out there that use a PC and don't use some form of office productivity suite and while most use Microsoft Office XX (where XX could be 97, 2000, XP or 2003), some use other products that in my opinion just don't compare for a business that wants to look great and work efficiently.

With Office offering a massive choice of products and features, these are the headlines I use when talking to people.

For those with a version of Microsoft Office, but not 2007

  • More Professional and Impressive documents and materials
    • Use Microsoft Publisher 2007 to build sales and marketing materials that look agency made, but are actually in-house work
    • The updated Microsoft Word 2007 has many features to ensure your documents have a professional, consistent look and feel throughout the whole document conforming to your brand goals (no matter how big or small they might be).  The readability tests will also share with you how easy it is for someone to understand the document.
    • Writing can be so unengaging, yet pictures are often very time consuming to get right.  Using the new text features, features such as subtle shading or reflections or glowing words are a click away and can make text dazzle.  For the words that can be better communicated in a picture the impressive Smart Art feature can take a simple list and turn it into a process diagram, or an organisation chart and all with any of the new professional style schemes to be sure to enhance the impact.
    • Most people can recognise an "old" Excel charts - the colours are bland and the charts often quite flat.  For this very reason the charts in Office 2007 have been given a significant facelift to ensure they look professional, while still conveying the information they are supposed to.
    • While sending an Office document to someone is very common, sometimes you want to be able to send something they can't edit, such as a price list or quote.  Every application in the Office 2007 suite can now save your documents in Adobe PDF format without you having to buy expensive "authoring" software - its free as part of Office.
  • Customer Management
    • Business Contact Manager (BCM), which is part of Office 2007 Small Business Edition (and Professional and Ultimate), enables you to track customer correspondence, e-mails and sales opportunities.  This has been improved so that e-mail sent or received by one person in your business can be see in the account management screens by everyone.  Likewise the new reports enable you to instantly see the status of your accounts and sales opportunities.
    • You can now also run targeted marketing campaigns to a group of customers, where BCM will allow this to be via e-mail based campaigns with tracking information or by producing the materials for a paper based campaigns.  You can then follow up on the people who have and have not responded as needed
    • Finding information at the right time is hard, but using the built in search in Microsoft Outlook 2007 you can find any e-mail by what is in the e-mail, by a date range or a particular sender or recipient in less than a second.  This means that even when on the phone you can be super responsive to that e-mail you sent them 9 weeks ago and they want to talk about it!
  • Mobile access to information
    • If you like using Microsoft Outlook 2007 when in the office you can now use all the features of Outlook when out of the Office.  It automatically carries all of your e-mail, calendar and contact information with you, even the calendars of your colleagues to give you the same experience when you are not connected.  Now, if you have an internet connection at home or in an internet cafe, without any cumbersome remote access tools you can continue to access these services online too and it will make a special web connection for you without any special RAS or dialing tools
    • If you don't want to take a notebook out with you, but you want your customer Information then using a Windows Mobile device you can now take your BCM customer data with you to reference while out.
  • Greater Efficiency
    • Have you every wanted to do something in Office, but not known how to?  Well the new Ribbon Bar in Word, Excel and PowerPoint 2007 makes it simple to find what you were looking for and do new things quickly.  No longer do you need lots of toolbars as extra tabs appear on the ribbon bar when you need them.  Click on a table and the table tab appears to do all the things you need to do to enhance a table, such as putting in totals or changing the appearance
    • In Microsoft Outlook 2007 the To-Do Bar instantly shows you your next appointments and outstanding tasks easily so you don't need to open your calendar or task lists.  It will also show you all of your flagged e-mails that you need to respond to.
    • Today Junk mail can be a huge burden to filter, but the improved filters in Outlook 2007 will place your junk in the junk folder and regular updates to the filter means that as the junk mailers improve their mails to not look like junk they still get caught and handled.  Since looking at junk mail can tell them about you we also prevent connections back to their site meaning you drop off their spam list.
    • With Microsoft Outlook 2007 you can see several peoples diaries laid on top of one another to simply see the gaps for appointments and meetings, speeding diary management 
    • When you are working in a document making a change and clicking OK to see the results takes time and required overcoming a little fear as to what it will do.  Office 2007 now includes Live previews of changes before you click - simply move your mouse over a feature and you will be shown what it will look like, move your mouse away and the change preview disappears leaving your document as it always was.
  • Understand information better
    • Conditional formatting in Microsoft Excel 2007 means that you instantly see which numbers are large or small in a spreadsheet reducing the time it takes to understand them.  You can use colour coding (red is bad and green is good on a sliding colour scale), icons (such as arrows or traffic lights) or even bars that fill the cell to show you large and small.
    • BCM can now produce a number of custom reports about the status of customers through a sales pipeline, marketing campaign or purchase history.  You can also create any number of custom reports using any of the data you have input, even custom data fields you have created
    • For me, grammar is not my best skill and the inline Grammar Checker will put a blue squiggle under words that it suspects the grammar is wrong for.  This means it will pick up when you use "their" instead of "they are" or "can not" instead of "cannot" and many more.

For those without a version of Microsoft Office

  • All of the above, plus
    • Document compatibility - never have a document screwed up because it was generated in Microsoft Office
    • Suite that has tools for 21st century that perform with 21st century performance, features and enables you to efficiently produce documents and interact with other systems to automate data retrieval from other systems
    • Access to thousands of applications that plug into the Office platform


OK, that is my brain dump on this subject - there are soooo many more things that Office 2007 can do to help you, but these are the ones I would talk about above everything else.




Posted Fri, Jul 20 2007 7:46 AM by David Overton


AltmanTC • Blog wrote AltmanTC • Blog
on Mon, Jul 23 2007 12:03 AM

Pingback from  AltmanTC • Blog

mjdsut wrote re: Why should a small business use Office 2007
on Wed, Nov 14 2007 2:23 PM

Hmm.  Not sure I agree with the sentiment.  I run a small business and have tried Office 2007 and see no real benefits for me - except getting Office 2007 to work with Vista.  My Office 2003 does not work and it is very frustrating.  I will onlky upgrade if I can't get Office 2003 to work in Vista.  I hate Vista!!!!

David Overton wrote re: Why should a small business use Office 2007
on Wed, Nov 14 2007 7:00 PM


These are my opinions and obviously if they don't apply to you then perhaps Office 2007 is not for you yet.  Office 2003 should work with Vista - it is supported as such.  Why not e-mail me the issues you are having?



Chris Boswell wrote re: Why should a small business use Office 2007
on Tue, Nov 27 2007 12:00 PM

I really really like the fact that you can create PDFs from MS Word in Office 2007, but that doesn't make them very secure if the person you're sending to has Acrobat. Much better to use Word Document Security or convert using Acrobat and add the proper level of PDF security yourself

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