Why Microsoft Office Power Users Won't Live in the Cloud
A loyal band of Office power users insists they have no intention of ditching traditional software and joining the cloud.
Tue, March 12, 2013
PC World —
For starters, Office 2013 saves your work to SkyDrive cloud storage by default. The new desktop suite also ties in deeply with the browser-based Office Web Apps. These are notable steps in a cloud-based direction, but given the overwhelming adoption of Google Drive in the workplace--it's the platform of choice at PCWorld--it's a bit curious that Microsoft updated its desktop suite at all.
Indeed, isn't shuttling Word documents over file servers and email a bit pass(c)?
The bottom line is thatA Microsoft knows its customers still need (or at least want)A traditional, "hit-a-button-and-install-this-to-my-programs-folder" software. But who, exactly, are the holdouts who refuse to make the switch to Google Drive, Office 365, or even Microsoft's Office Web Apps? Who's still using a local copy of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint exclusively, and why?
They are the Office Luddites, and here they explain why they'll give up their Office DVDs only when you pry them from their cold, dead hands.
Anyone who uses a Web-based document editor knows that overall performance can sometimes be incredibly slow. Paste text into a Google Drive spreadsheet cell and you may wait a second or two for it to appear. Complaining about a one-second delay may sound petty, but these seconds add up, particularly if you're accustomed to seeing changes instantaneously on screen.
The bigger issue, though, is the need for a fast Internet connection.
"In theory, the idea of Web-based software is very appealing," says Angela Nino, training director at Versitas, which offers courses for using Office software. "In practice, there are many problems that can arise when using them on a daily basis. A couple of years ago, I tried using Google Docs. I ran into a problem on day two: a slow Internet connection at a location where I was doing training for the day. I had used Google Docs to create a training handout, and just needed a couple of extra copies. I ended up having to wait until our break to be able to print the extra handouts because it took so long to access Google Docs through their wireless Internet connection."
Of course, without a live Web connection, standard Web apps won't work at all. Cloud providers are aware of this and are taking steps to enable offline access to files. Google Drive has an offline mode, but that mode works only with Google's Chrome browser. Microsoft Office 365 Home Premium ($10/month) and Small Business Premium ($12.50/month) include full, offline copies of the Office 2013 suite. Of course, companiesA pay $6.50/month less for the online-only Office 365 Small Business.