You’ve read the news that Microsoft is losing market share. You’ve heard the reports that Windows-based software is too expensive and obsolete. It’s understandable that you’re considering a change. Microsoft has been “king” of the software industry for a long time. They’d have us believe that having Windows products is essential to running your business. The good news is that there are alternatives to MS Office that work well with Microsoft Suite applications such as Microsoft Word and Excel.
Some of these alternatives can help you save many thousands of dollars on licensing fees and updates. Did I get your attention? Yes, you are not chained to paying monthly fees to Microsoft to run their Microsoft Suite applications. Yes, you don’t have to succumb to Microsoft’s attempts to convert your computers to run their version of software. In the past five years that open-source software has exploded from the realm of the “techie” to mass adoption by everyday users.
IT Cost Reduction
Wouldn’t you like to save thousands, or even millions of dollars in IT costs? Earth & Sky offers IT cost reduction strategies to help your business maximize IT cost savings and reduce or eliminate licensing fees. There are five popular free alternatives to Microsoft Office for your computing needs.
- FreeOffice 2016-Offers good compatibility with your existing Microsoft Office suite. Boasts fast loading times and has a user-friendly interface due to its streamlined design and familiar palette.
- Apache OpenOffice-This is one of the oldest open-source software systems available on the market today. It is compatible with Microsoft Word but has its own suite of productivity applications that function in an international open standard format.
- LibreOffice 5- Some experts are betting that this will replace Microsoft Office. It is also compatible with Microsoft Suite applications such as Microsoft Word and Excel but also has the capability of adapting to other non-Microsoft applications.
- Google Docs-This free open source software is available to anyone with an Internet connection. It can automatically import/export to and from most of the Microsoft Suite applications and has been widely adopted by schools from K-12 to universities.
- WPS Office 2016- This open source software has solid compatibility with Microsoft Office and has a similar layout.
- iWork from Apple-As the name suggests, this open source software is more familiar to MacOS users than it is to Microsoft Windows users. It does however have some functionality with Microsoft Suite applications.
You know that IT cost reduction is only half the battle when you’re running a business. It is true that you have to consider the costs to renew Microsoft Office licenses and update your software. You do have to factor in productivity costs and have a clear understanding of the various features you’ll get with any open source software system.
You should ask the following questions before purchasing or using an alternative to Microsoft Office.
How compatible is the software application to your existing Microsoft Office Suite?
As shown above, some of the free open source software systems are completely compatible with your existing Microsoft Office suite. If your company is willing to try out a new open source software system then it might be good to try the standalone open source software systems like WPS Office. If compatibility is important to you then you might consider trying Google Docs or LibreOffice.
What is the “learning curve” for the new applications?
Ease of use is important. If your employees are struggling to learn and adapt to the new applications, your business will suffer. The aforementioned open source software systems all have applications that are easy to use and take little time to learn.
It depends on how the system will be used to determine whether or not it will fill your business needs. If the system isn’t customizable to the specific tasks you need done then it’s probably a waste of time and money.
How accessible and secure is the software system?
There have been some concerns about security in regards to open source software. That’s understandable. Microsoft Office has worked diligently to secure its applications. That’s probably one of the main reasons why companies still opt to renew Microsoft Office applications. Open Source software has been under a lot of scrutiny due to its public nature. There are risks involved with open source software.
Are you unsure if alternatives to Microsoft Office make sense for your business? At Earth & Sky, we will work with you and help you make informed decisions that will yield the best ROI for your business. We regularly find that our clients are overpaying by an average of more than 30%. Call us today at 858-799-0245 or request a free assessment. We’ll help you find a balance between your software needs and what your Microsoft software delivers.