With the release of Microsoft® Office XP comes the opportunity for businesses to save time, money, and effort in deployment through the Open License program. If you currently purchase individual retail packages of Microsoft Office XP for your organization, you might consider the benefits of purchasing Microsoft Office XP licenses through the Microsoft Open License program.
The Open License program entitles you to buy enterprise editions of Office XP, which are not available from retail outlets. These enterprise editions of Office XP allow you to customize deployment configurations and control the desktop environment from a centralized location. (Note that you must use an enterprise edition of Office XP if you wish to deploy Office XP from an administrative installation point.)
Advantages of the enterprise editions
A common concern of growing companies is standardization of processes, tools, and methodologies. The enterprise editions of Office XP, available through Microsoft’s volume licensing programs, provide the ability to develop a standard configuration for desktop productivity. A standardized desktop environment enables much simpler sharing of files and templates, and even makes it easier for different employees to share the same computer.
Added benefits of the Office XP enterprise editions include the following:
If everyone uses the same configuration of software, templates, and e-mail settings, there is greater consistency, leading to increased productivity and potentially reduced training and support costs.
- Unified presentation of external communication
Presenting a common image of your business to the outside world through the use of a common template, theme, or format provides a more polished and professional appearance to clients. It is easy to establish a standard and control it with the Office Resource Kit, which is included with every version of Office XP available through Open License.
- Central installation point
Having all users install Office XP from the same location makes it easier for users to install Office, keep current with the latest updates, and develop a routine for performing maintenance. It also reduces the number of CDs and Office packages in use throughout the company and can potentially reduce support calls for Office-related questions. In addition, purchasing your Office licenses through Open License allows for an enterprise installation, which eliminates the need to activate each individual desktop via the Internet or phone.
Deploying an enterprise edition of Office XP
Three different enterprise editions of Office XP are available, each of which includes full support for the enterprise-level tools. The editions are as follows:
- Office Standard — Enterprise edition
- Office Professional — Enterprise edition
- Office Professional with FrontPage® — Enterprise edition
To take full advantage of an enterprise edition of Office XP, your organization’s computers should meet the specifications listed in the Office XP System Requirements topic of the Office Resource Kit. In addition, you should designate an individual to be responsible for administration and configuration of Office XP using the Office Resource Kit.
A small law firm with ten computers has decided to license Microsoft Office XP instead of purchasing ten individual retail packages. The firm has never had technical support staff personnel to configure and manage its PCs. It has managed the work independently without much trouble for the past five years but is beginning to encounter minor style and configuration issues between computers. However, the head of the firm has decided it is time to upgrade the firm’s image and set some standards for how it will do business. Also, the owner has discovered it costs more to purchase individual copies of Office for each computer than to buy a license for each computer through Open License.
After calling his reseller, the owner discovers he can save up to 20 percent or more on the cost of Microsoft Office XP by purchasing the licenses through Open License. Not only can he save money in the purchase of Office, but he may also achieve additional savings by creating a standardized configuration of Office that all the legal staff can come to expect.
After assigning the task to create an administrative installation point and organizing specialized configurations of common tools, dictionaries, templates, and user settings to a member of his staff, the owner discovered:
- The added benefit of creating a set of templates for Word is presenting a more professional appearance to customers.
- A customized dictionary has been added to the administrative installation point and is automatically installed when Office is installed on a new computer, thereby reducing the effort necessary to configure a new computer.
- Configuration of a new computer has been reduced from almost a day to less than an hour.
- The installation of additional supporting software programs is occurring automatically each time Office is installed on a new computer. The time saved here was almost immeasurable since previous software usually had to be installed by hand and special customizations applied for each computer.
- Users can capture their profile (user settings) of Office and save them to a central server for use at a later date in case their computer is damaged or their configuration is somehow adversely changed. Also, the ability to save each user's profile on a Microsoft Internet Server for free has reduced the amount of disk space required by local file servers and drives and has actually helped them comply with emergency offsite data storage procedures.
- Maintenance updates (changes to the configuration of Office) can be accomplished from the administrative installation point through the use of the Custom Maintenance Wizard.
Implementing an administrative installation point
The Office Resource Kit explains in detail what is necessary to create an administrative installation point and how to maintain the configuration created with the Custom Installation Wizard.
Creation of an administrative installation point now allows you to use the following tools:
- Custom Installation Wizard
- Custom Maintenance Wizard
- Office Profile Wizard
- Corporate Error Reporting
There are other supporting tools and documentation to aid you in customizing your installation of Office XP. One individual (commonly referred to as the Office Administrator) will use the tools supplied in the Office Resource Kit to create transforms, maintenance files, settings files, etc., to customize the configuration of Office to a standard that can be installed at any time on a computer within the company.
You are not limited to one standard within your company. The Office Resource Kit allows you to create as many transforms as you need. If necessary, you can create a standard for any group within your company that requires a configuration that is different than the needs of another group. The transforms used to deploy the configurations of software for each group can all be stored on the same administrative installation point. There is no need to have a separate administrative installation point — another cost saving measure.
The use of fairly common Information Technology procedures can also be used to enhance the deployment and maintenance of Office XP within your organization. Several of the new features of Microsoft Windows® 2000 server are supported by or can be used with Office XP and in many cases helps provide control over your network and configuration of Office XP.
Obtaining an enterprise edition of Office XP through a Microsoft Open License agreement
Microsoft's licensing programs save time and money by providing management of software licenses and purchases for almost any size business.
For more information about Microsoft volume licensing programs, including Open License, see the Microsoft Licensing Web site.