Managing Microsoft Costs
In general Microsoft makes some great software. I think the office suite may be the exception. I really find Word difficult to use and needlessly complex. It is a classic example of “bloatware.”
The other thing that drives me crazy about Microsoft is their pricing strategies. They typically price their products below market at the beginning of their life cycle. Then, once we are dependent on them, they raise their prices well above market. What really makes their software expensive is their client pricing. When we install a new server with Microsoft software we pay for the software on that server AND an additional fee for a all of the PCs that connect to that server.
At my organizations, we pay more for Microsoft software than GE/IDX and MEDITECH combined.
Well, we are going to start to bring some sanity to our Microsoft spending. Recently a Ministry/Affinity team completed a project to develop Ministry and Affinity’s strategy for managing Microsoft costs, and I think they have come up with an outstanding plan. Not all PCs will have Microsoft Office. In clinical areas we will only install the free viewers. So, people can read Word and Excel documents, but won’t have the expensive software needed to create those documents. This requires extra work on our behalf, but the money we will save justifies the added effort 10 times over.
Also, we have made a decision to NOT deploy Microsoft SharePoint servers. we are using an ASP collaboration tool called QuickBase, which is much more intuitive and will be significantly less expensive.
Recently Microsoft rolled out their Reporting Services tool. We will not use that product unless a full analysis of the options supports that direction.
In general, I only use Word or Excel in rare situations. I never type a message in Word and attach it to an email. That only perpetuates Word usage, and it wastes the user time sine they have to open the email, then open the Word attachment.
We will not be installing Microsoft Access on any PCs unless there is a specific justification accepted by an IT manager. Usually QuickBase is a much better choice than Access since it is natively multi-user, easier to use, and much less expensive.
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