I just installed Word and Excel 2003 into Parallels. When I got this MacBook Pro in November, I was so hopeful that I could avoid this day. I wanted to do everything in Word and Excel 2004 that I used to do in the Windows 2003 versions. I know, it’s not like I was going from light to darkness…Office 2004 is just a tiny bit less evil than Office 2003…more of a charcoal grey on the black & white hat scale.
Office 2004 is a nice experience compared to Office 2003. Easier to adjust type settings for starters. But I’m still hopelessly tied to Outlook. I need the Salesforce Outlook plug-in so I can have the entire organization’s contact list at my fingertips without having to import those names into my address book. And I use that plug-in to add emails to contact and donation records. UPS sends us a notification when a package has been delivered. With a click, that tracking number and shipping status is attached to the record of the donation and to the contact. That way when someone calls and says, “Where’s my package of blue star awareness pins?” I can pull up their record in Salesforce and have the entire history.
I also still rely on the Getting Things Done Outlook plug-in. I’m hopeless without it. There are other GTD tools for setting up projects, tasks and actions, but this is the only one that I’ve found that let’s you send an incoming or outgoing email directly to an action. So if I send an email to our Office Manager asking her to do something, I can set that email to “Send and Delegate” which will send the email and create a @WaitingFor task for me so I know I have to keep that on my radar until she responds. No dropped threads that way.
I tried having Outlook in XP and the rest of Office in OS X and it was just more trouble than it was worth to constantly save attachments to the Mac side of the desktop to open it in Word or Excel 2004. DemandTools and PeopleImport don’t like working with files that are in Parallels shared folders, so I had to download my exports to the Mac side, open in Excel and set up the data, then copy to the XP side to import into Salesforce with DemandTools or PeopleImport. A hassle. I’m too busy. I give up. Just so much faster to manipulate the data in Excel 2003 and work with it right there.
This is why these applications dominate, folks. It’s not that things can’t be done in other ways, it’s that the return on doing them in other ways just isn’t worth the time and effort it takes to do it. And I was moving from Microsoft to Microsoft! Forget any hope of a fulltime move to OpenOffice or Google Docs no matter how attractive (or how “green”) they are.