We recently discussed how software skills of people in your company can impact their effectiveness and efficiency. One of our suggestions was to provide additional training and resources to allow staff to upgrade their skill levels.
We should also mention that upgrading to the latest software release may also improve their performance. Microsoft recently announced upgrades to their Office product line so now may be the time to “5S” your computer and install the latest software.
The Learning Curve
When the Office 2007 upgrade was introduced, many of the software interfaces that we were accustomed to were changed. The intention of changing this interface was to make some of the more “advanced” features available to the average user.
While these intentions are admirable, we have found that many companies didn’t upgrade. Compatibility concerns will soon become an issue as software developers desire to take advantage of the newly introduced functionality and capabilities of the latest release.
When we made the switch to 2007, admittedly there was a bit of learning curve. The new functionality introduced by the new user interface seemed a little awkward at first, however, the effort was more than worth our time.
Although we did lose some perceived functionality in Excel, specifically with our custom menus, the newly added features have been well worth the effort to transition to the next generation of software. This added functionality is evident by the many Function Specific books that have been written on topic such as Charting, Pivot Tables, and VBA.
Microsoft is Upgrading Again
We recently heard that Microsoft has announced yet another upgrade of the Office products to be released in the near future (if not already). It can be increasingly difficult for software developers to support multiple versions of previous software releases.
Visual Basic for Application (VBA) programmers are more than aware that even Microsoft’s Macro Recorder does not capture all the functionality to support the features available in the 2007 Office software.
Although Excel has evolved considerably over a relatively short time, we are still surprised to find Excel 1997, 2000, 2002, and 2003 being used like they were released yesterday.
5S Your Software
Recognizing clutter in our physical environment is easy. We don’t do a very good job when it comes to our “Digital” work space. The Digital Dump doesn’t exist. Even deleted files are sent to the Recycle Bin. Increased storage capacities also make it easy to add new software without having to remove prior versions.
Retro-Compatibility sacrifices can usually be resolved in some form of work around that results in someone losing more of their valuable time. We also carry multiple versions of Microsoft’s Office software to assure continued compatibility with prior releases and at times sacrifice features and functionality accordingly.
Sooner or later, compatibility will be compromised. Few have ever performed a Software 5S, this may have just been one of our first times discussing it as well.
Until Next Time – STAY Lean!