Tuesday, January 31, 2012

2012 the Year of the Software Update


I am dubbing 2012 “The Year of the Software Update” because of all of the major updates that are scheduled to take place.  Autodesk has a yearly update schedule and if they follow what they’ve done since 2003 the next release of AutoCAD® should have a new DWG file type.  Adobe has announced that they too are on a yearly release cycle for their Creative Suite® with CS 6 due this year.  Solidworks yearly cycle will give us a new version this year.  Draftsight seems to be on a yearly release that should come out this April. Now Microsoft has announced that Office 15 will come out this year.  On top of that Microsoft Windows 8 is also scheduled to release this year.


With all of these programs releasing this year what will IT departments do to stay on top of things?  Or will they simply ignore the new releases and keep working with what they have?  Will companies spend the cash to update?  Do they have the money to update?  Many organizations here in the U.S. anyway are just starting to make ends meet again.  Will an office wide update even happen?  My guess is that some will but more won’t.

A common issue in many businesses is keeping everyone on the same release, who cares about keeping up to date.  Currently where I work (about 30 users) we have at least three different versions of Microsoft Office in use.  Some have Windows XP while others have Windows 7.  Adobe Acrobat, well start counting at 6 and work your way up.  And even though we are on subscription services, we have about three different versions of AutoCAD Civil 3D.  That one gets real interesting.

This year may be the year for your company to sit down and to make a plan.  Determine your software (and hardware) needs and make an attempt to get everyone on the same release of whatever it is you are using.  Determine your needs then determine your budget.  Try to bring the two together.  Set up a system that will keep your users up to date as often as possible but will keep everyone on the same program release.  It makes working together much easier.  It also helps out maintenance and troubleshooting issues.  Also make sure to add into your budget training.  Train. Train. Train. Train. Train.  Many problems can be solved by having adequately trained staff.  Recently there was a folder issue in Outlook so I suggest that the user set up a “Rule”.  I was laughed at because said user had no idea what a Rule in Outlook was.  A CAD user had an issue updating an associated block.  I suggested that she use the BATTMAN command and again, I was laughed at!  I don’t mind being laughed at, except when I am serious!

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