Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Transitioning to Google Documents was Easier than Expected

This year I transitioned my small office to Google Documents, now called Google Drive. I did not make a move from Microsoft Office to Google Documents, that ship sailed a decade ago. I made the move from LibreOffice. The main reason for the shift, was Google Documents online collaboration features.

I waited for Google Documents offline client, and the slow after Christmas period to make the transition. I realized there was not much need to wait for the offline client. In the week since we made the move, well no one has used it. I guess we are never offline anymore these days. As for issues, Google Documents does not support hiding tables, so some of our templates had to be modified. We also encountered some printing issues. Since printing in our office is centralized with a secretary taking care of this task, we still print using LibreOffice. A friend of mine on Google+ told me another workaround is to convert files to PDF before printing. I have not tried this yet.

Why make the move? First is online collaboration. LibreOffice still does not have it. Second, it cost considerations, while LibreOffice id free hardware is not. The hardware in my office is aging. Our newest laptops are over two years old, and out oldest once, are on their fifth year. The transition to Google Documents, should also facilitate a shift to Google Chromo OS powered laptops, or Chromebooks over the next two years. Google Chromebooks are inexpensive and virtually eliminate software maintenance. Right now, there are no Chromebooks for sale in the Philippines, but I suspect they should get here sooner, rather than later. 

Finally, the interface of Google Documents is simpler, cleaner and more intuitive than LibreOffice. Sharing files is also integrated into the Cloud based office suite. With new staff coming in, I felt they would have an easier time learning how to use Google Documents. 

All in all, the transition was uneventful. Which is a good thing.

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