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Windows Vista and Office 2007: Winning a tough sale

Customers are resistant to change -- particularly when the change involves moving to an entirely new operating system. Contributor Jon Hassell outlines some discussion points to help convince customers to upgrade to Windows Vista and Office 2007 sooner rather than later.

Jonathan Hassell
Any new software release brings with it anxiety for end users who must adjust to the change. Bean counters may also experience some heartburn as they consider how software changes will affect the corporate training budget. In early 2007 all of this angst may be multiplied with the dual release of Microsoft Windows Vista and Office 2007. Fortunately the improvements to Vista and Office are designed to make users feel more comfortable working in their environments.

As a VAR, both your responsibility and ticket to success is to convince users and corporations to upgrade their existing software deployments to the latest versions. In this tip, I will take a look at some angles you can use to overcome a rather tough sale of Windows Vista and Office 2007.

  • Improved Office usability: For those organizations reluctant to upgrade to Office 2007, the usability benefits of the ribbon are hard to ignore. Emphasize the many months Microsoft spent redesigning the Office user interface to make accessing both popular and more unknown features easier for users. Features that have long been in Office are now easily exposed to the user, creating more value from a software purchase in terms of increased productivity.
  • Prepare for Vista and Office
    How to sell Windows Vista

    Picking the right hardware for Windows Vista

    Testing applications for Windows Vista compatibility 

    Vista Project Guide

    2007 Microsoft Office: What to know before bundling

  • Simplified Vista roll out: Windows Vista is now easier to roll out across the corporation with the inclusion of new Windows Deployment Services (WDS) technology. WDS improves upon the previous rollout solution, called RIS (Remote Installation Services), and supports disk-based imaging and simple image file system access from Windows Explorer. WDS can also be used to deploy Windows XP where necessary. Rolling out Windows may never be as cheap.
  • Better SharePoint integration: For businesses with large investments in SharePoint technology, the new version of SharePoint integrates better with Office 2007 than any previous version of SharePoint. Calendars, tasks, documents and workspaces can be easily shared among many Office 2007 users, making an investment in SharePoint much more valuable when used in conjunction with the latest release of Office.
  • More effective hardware refresh: Hardware refreshes, normally performed every three to five years, are more effective when paired with new software functionality. If a business is upgrading its hardware, typically a Windows license is already included in the cost of the hardware or it's a marginal addition. The only remaining expense to be completely current early in 2007 would be the Office license, which is typically available at a lower cost than retail when purchased in bulk.
  • Maintained shortcut keys: Users who are comfortable with keyboard shortcuts will be happy to discover in Office 2007 that, even though the ribbon has rearranged the structure of the typical menu bars, all of the shortcut key combinations in previous versions of Office will work automatically.
  • Familiar user interface: The Windows Vista interface contains a Windows Classic theme that emulates the Windows interface of old, so users can immediately begin working in a familiar environment.
  • Improved security: The corporation also gains from the security improvements made in Vista, which improves IT resource allocation, lessens administrative burden, and increases the integrity of machines around the network.
  • Bulk license discounts: Windows Vista licenses cost about the same that Windows 2000 and Windows XP licenses cost when first released. The financial implications of a Vista upgrade can be spread across thousands of systems with a select license agreement, and even smaller businesses can take advantage of bulk licensing to obtain a discount on their Vista software cost. In addition, bulk licensing contracts often come with valuable upgrade benefits if software refreshes are released during the term of the contract. Some organizations may be in a position to upgrade to both Vista and Office 2007 for little cost due to their existing contracts.

Get more advice on How to sell Windows Vista.

About the author: Jonathan Hassell is an author, consultant and speaker residing in Charlotte, North Carolina. Jonathan's books include RADIUS, Learning Windows Server 2003, Hardening Windows and most recently Windows Vista: Beyond the Manual. His work is seen regularly in popular periodicals such as Windows IT Pro Magazine, SecurityFocus, PC Pro and Microsoft TechNet Magazine. He speaks around the world on topics including Windows administration, networking and security.

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