This morning, I was subjected to a rant against Microsoft Office 2003 by my wife. She hates it. I’ve never used it, so this is my recreation of her story to me.
Setting: We’re both on the couch, about to watch some Saturday morning College Football, when a commercial for Office 2003 comes on the TV.
She said something like:
“You know the new Office 2003? It sucks. It sucks because when I open a new message, Outlook decides that it needs to display the fonts in like 18, or 20 point fonts, and I can’t figure out how to get it to not do that. I’ve played with the settings for at least 3 or 4 hours since our IT department installed it, and I can’t figure it out.”
You have to realize my wife is a civil engineer, and very smart… great technical skills, and generally able to figure out on her own how to get a computer to do what she wants it to.
Then she tells me more:
“There’s this guy at the office that owns Macs at home, but is pretty supportive of Microsoft at the office because we use a lot of products that are Windows only, and he hates the new Office 2003. It just changed all the behaviors that we were used to. Why did Microsoft do that? Office 2003 Sucks™”
At this point, I start laughing, because if my wife is saying this, I wonder what others are saying? I know my best friend is flirting with switching.
She then says (totally un-prompted):
“You know that commercial when the IT guy gets asked by the guy giving the new employees a tour of the building ‘Tell them about what your department does, but keep it short’? And the IT guy says ‘We just installed Active Directory, which will save the company a lot of money’?”
I responded that I knew what she was referring to.
“One of our IT guys showed us that commercial in a presentation about the ‘new network enhancements’ that they just made, trying to teach us all about the enhancements. We’d all been using the ‘enhanced network’ for a week at the time that he showed us that commercial and we just laughed. You see, the new ‘enhanced network’ is a piece of crap. We can’t check our email from outside the network reliably anymore. We can’t get to the servers in other buildings like we used to be able to. We can’t share files as easily as we used to, and Office 2003 Sucks™. Sometimes I think IT departments make upgrades to make their jobs easier, not to make the company more profitable, becasue they don’t take into account the time and effort that the profit makers will have to exert to learn and use the new technology with the efficiency that they use the old technology.”
It’s clear that the wife’s not happy with Office 2003, and it has driven a wedge between the employees of her company and their IT department. I personally feel that change is good, but not when it’s so disturbing to the people that have to deal with it in the trenches that it disrupts their daily work. Some of this animosity by the workers that have to use the new tech could have been subdued by the IT department telling the workers about the enhancements and likely problems that might come during the ‘upgrades’ before they started rolling them out, instead of after.