As a leader in your organization, don’t you have a fiscal responsibility to save your stakeholders money? Well, one way to do it is to lessen the monthly Microsoft fees you are paying and you can reduce that cost today. If you tired of paying Microsoft license fees for office products and emails, I urge you to look into open source solutions.
Disclaimer: I own Microsoft stock, I love Microsoft, but I’m just not a big fan of their Office products, so when I hear a business owner complain about Microsoft and the licenses they “have to pay” for, including their email with Outlook/Exchange and other Office products, I don’t have much sympathy for them.
Microsoft is not the only choice for these type of office solutions. Granted, their products work well, but there are reliable and free software solutions out there. The best alternative to pricey Microsoft Office licenses is Open Office. This is an open source software project [http://www.openoffice.org/why/index.html] for Windows PC users, Mac users, and Linux that offers feature-rich capabilities similar to Microsoft Word (Open Office Write), Microsoft Excel (Open Office Calc), and PowerPoint (Open Office Draw).
The database and forms for simple data storage and manipulation is set up easily in Open Office Base, which offers many of the same features in Microsoft Access. The other bonus is that you can usually open up MS Office files and edit them as standard .doc or .xls file formats, so you don’t miss a beat as you transition your team of 3…. Or 53 for that matter.
To replace your entire Microsoft Office suite and save potentially thousands of dollars of license fees, I suggest for those business owners who wince at every time they pay their monthly Microsoft bill to look at these alternatives and give them a try:
Except for replacing Outlook, 90% of all offices I know could easily transition to Open Office and completely eliminate those pesky license fees of $4 per email address and $89 per year per user for Office, etc. Not being able to replace Outlook is no reason to remain harnessed to Microsoft Office because there are feature rich, free alternatives to that as well!
For the free replacement of Microsoft Outlook, I recommend Mozilla Thunderbird. It also has calendar integration and other excellent features.
As an honorable mention, for desktop layout programs like Adobe InDesign, I recommend looking into Scribus! Even though their homepage is a little clunky and they have super large images loading as thumbnails, don’t be fooled! They may not know what they’re doing with their homepage content, but they make a great desktop publishing program!