Office 2016 First Impressions: The Good, Bad and Ugly

Microsoft_Office_2016While we are lucky enough to work with extremely innovative clients that are eager to embrace the latest technology, we always advise them not to adopt the latest version of software until after the kinks are worked out. For a consumer it’s not a big deal to be test driving new features and experimenting with the latest version. For a business user, if there’s a bit of a learning curve, buggy features or errors that make an application crash, it can be a huge detriment to productivity. That’s why we take a lot of time testing out new applications and operating systems before we encourage our clients to adopt them. You may have read that Microsoft recently unveiled Office 2016. We spent some time with it and have some mixed feedback for our business users. Here’s the good, bad and the ugly surrounding the Office 2016 suite:

  1. The Good: Built to make business better.
    Word is probably our favorite when it comes to the new suite of products. While there has been minimal change to formatting and structure – the overall design has definitely gotten a facelift. We’re all about function, though and when it comes to function we see definite improvements.
  • Word has many more templates. This allows businesses to refine their documents and be more professional without having to go online and download templates to use inside Word. There are also some pretty awesome co-authoring features that we wrote about in this blog.
  • Attachments in Outlook reference recent documents. This is a great feature since it’s available on any device that you use Office on. You can easily attach documents in e-mails in Outlook or reference them in an e-mail on your phone. This is really valuable for mobile users or users that work from more than one machine. (Which, lets face is, 90% of the workforce these days does.)
  • OneDrive is also attempting to make its way into the life of business users by making sharing documents, collaborating on documents and authoring documents across devices a little simpler.
  1. The Bad: Buggy Plug-ins Crashing Outlook
    One of our employees experienced so many issues with his regular mail plugins (Go To Meeting and Sidekick being his biggest used ones) that he had to completely disable them to avoid crashing Outlook. While we’re sure this will be fixed in updates, it’s definitely not something that early adopters like to have to do. Particularly when they’re extremely reliant on the capabilities provided by those plugins.
  1. The Ugly: Outlook 2016 Not Working in Mac OS X El Capitan
    For the earliest of early adopters with Apple’s latest Mac OS X El Capitan, Outlook 2016 just plain refused to work, continually crashing for users. While this was apparently fixed on October 13th – it’s a prime example of how making an immediate switch isn’t always the best idea for business users.

If you’re interested, here’s a breakdown of all the new features and improvements directly from Microsoft. Overall, we have to say that Microsoft’s push towards the cloud, mobility and a new pricing model will really change the way businesses think about licensing (particularly in the middle of the Microsoft SAM Audit push). The good outweighs the bad in this particular scenario. While there are still some bugs to work out, Microsoft is working diligently to eliminate them and overall we think Office 2016 is a great investment for companies that are looking to upgrade and eliminate the capital expense.