Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

TA Review - Open Enterprise Server

Recommendations regarding Open Enterprise Server will be made to the State's Technical Architecture Review Board on January 16, 2008.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Previously Published Technical Architecture Reports

The following reports have been presented to the Architecture Review Board
  1. Laptop Encryption (Submit comments to through 12/7/2007)
  2. Podcasting Alternatives (Submit comments to through 12/14/2007)
  3. Virus and Spyware Protection (Submit comments to through 12/7/2007)
  4. Office Suites (Submit comments to through 01/14/2007)

January ARB

The Architecture Review Board will review the following items on January 16, 2008.
  • Use of Novell Open Enterprise Server (OES) in the enterprise
  • Java EE5 compliant application servers
  • Enterprise logging services

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Agency Comments on TA Review: Office Suites

The following comments have been received from agencies on the Office Suites' recommendation:

Agency A Comments
Training on the New Product - There are always differences in the commands and placement of objects and functions between two or more similar but competing software products, like Office Suites and Microsoft Office. A move to Office Suites will bring to light these differences and may leave some users confused or frustrated when they must complete commands differently to carry out their intended actions. This changeover can reduce efficiency and require training support and/or aids to resolve. This could have an impact on budgets to accommodate calls for help, training, seminars, publications, etc. A reduction in staff and program effectiveness and efficiency may also be anticipated.
Interface with Established Templates - Agencies that use Word or Excel templates populated with data from other sources could be impacted by a change to Office Suites. Such template use will require research and testing to verify that they will continue to work as intended in the new environment. This is the case at [agency A] where the [Agency A] System exports data into Word and Excel document templates for letters, reports, licenses, documents, etc. We will need to test each template in Office Suite to ensure it functions properly. This will take time to complete. But of greater concern is if the template translation does not work perfectly and the templates need to be redesigned or recreated in Office Suites.
Agency B Comments
[Agency B] has already purchased licenses for Office 2007 although many of the users were upgraded to Office 2003 for the moment (2003 corrects some annoying "features" of 2000). The [agency] division has begun a migration to Office 2007 as they seek the expanded worksheet size and the ability to interact with taxpayers who have made the switch. Selected others (including me) are using Office 2007 and find the new interface to be a substantial improvement. The new [agency] application exports documents in Microsoft formats so that also contributed to a decision to upgrade.
Have we tested Open Office's ability to exchange documents? My past experience with that issue has been troublesome. Issues with document exchange quickly turn users away from alternatives when those hassles are easily avoided by staying with the Microsoft products. Are we really ready to promote Open Office as a viable alternative? Should we come up with an answer for the collaboration and document management questions before we take this position? Will we see integration issues we have to solve ourselves that would otherwise be "built in" were we using the Microsoft suite? How viable is the alternative to Access in Open Office and how easily could an older Access application be migrated to Open Office?
Agency C Comments
I read your architecture review document on office productivity suites over the holidays. It was well researched, organized and written. I have not spent much if any time with the [Agency C] users on this subject to understand their current and future needs.

Your arguments for migrating towards Open Office are compelling. However, before we at [agency C] make such a move - we would need to do a more complete study including a "to be" and gap analysis. We have a variety of very diverse users. Consequently, such a study would take a few months.

The majority of our users use Office 2000 and there are some 2003 users. When I first became the IT Director (18 months ago) the question came up rather we should migrate to 2003 as soon as possible. [Agency C manager]'s team provided us some cost estimates and it was then determined to be cost prohibitive. However, no detailed analysis was completed as to functionality need.

Our desktop support team has experimented some with Open Office. But, I am not sure how much of this experimentation has been done in coordination with our users. We need to do this before making any decisions.

With everything else that has been going on here, this has not honestly been a high priority for us or the Department. But, maybe the time has arrived that we investigate this further so we can know how to go forward. It is my guess that most users at [agency C] would be good candidates for moving to Open Office, but this is only a guess at this point and as mentioned earlier - we have many diverse users. Some of these users in legal, audit and appeals have very specialized needs.