Most office workers aren't actually using Microsoft Office

Posted:
in Mac Software edited August 2015
Businesses that license Microsoft Office company-wide are wasting money because few employees actually make significant use of the programs, according to the results of new app usage study.

Microsoft Office


According to a report by John E Dunn for PC World, startup firm SoftWatch has been studying how employees use Office apps and concluded that many businesses can save significant resources by switching from Office to cheaper cloud-based applications.

SoftWatch said that in a study of 148,500 employees across 51 international companies that licensed Microsoft Office, 70 percent of employees were only using the productivity software for viewing or light editing. "What the study seems to be telling us is that the age of the all-purpose Office suite based on monolithic licensing has probably had its day because most users simply don't use applications often enough to justify the cost." - John Dunn, SoftWatch.

The majority (68 percent) of the total minutes that employees spent interacting with Office on a daily basis was consumed by Outlook email, which accounted for about a half hour of the average employee's day. Another 8 minutes per day were spent interacting with Excel, five minutes in Word and two minutes in PowerPoint.

Among employees in general, 29 percent either never used Excel and Word or only ever used them to view existing documents, while 70 percent never needed to edit a PowerPoint document.

An additional 62 percent made only light use of Word (leaving 9 percent making more serious use of it), while 53 percent made only light use of Excel (leaving 18 percent who were significant number crunchers).

"What the study seems to be telling us is that the age of the all-purpose Office suite based on monolithic licensing has probably had its day because most users simply don't use applications often enough to justify the cost," Dunn wrote.

Study a pitch for Google Apps


The company behind the study sells its app usage analytics to companies as a way to determine their actual needs for licensing Office, and it partners with resellers of Google Apps, which it recommends as an alternative.

Microsoft appears to be well aware of the fact that its customers have other options, including cloud-based 'Software as a Service' offerings. The company now sells Office 365 as a subscription service that provides a company's employees with flexible access to Office apps via native Windows, Mac, Android or iOS apps, including a new touch-oriented version of its Office apps tailored specifically for, and currently exclusively for, Apple's iPad.

Microsoft's Office 365 subscription covers the unrestricted use of those apps, while users with only casual needs for viewing documents can download Microsoft's new iPad apps for free, with no other licensing required.

Still, the idea that SoftWatch is establishing a business around the idea of evaluating employee use of apps that were once considered "required for business," and that it is in general recommending that users ditch Office to save money, appears to reflect an enormous shift from the status quo, on parallel with the "Bring Your Own Device" trend that forever changed the amount of control that centralized IT Management dictated over the productivity tools employees used.

Old news in the Post-PC market

Outside of workers tied to the conventional PC desktop office environment, mobile users (and conventional office users making any use of mobile devices) have decisively gravitated to Apple's iOS platform, in the form of iPhones and iPads.

iOS


For the most recent winter quarter, enterprise Mobile Device Management vendor Good Technologies reported in February that 73 percent of all mobile devices its clients were using were iOS devices.

Among tablets, the ratio of iPads was even higher, now claiming a 91.4 percent share of all business tablets. Apple's share of tablets has remained sky high ever since the iPad was first released in 2010, meaning that enterprise users have been standardizing on iPads for over four years now.

As Microsoft delayed in releasing a native edition of Office for iPad, enterprise and education users have migrated to apps that were available for the popular tablet, including the iWork productivity suite that Apple launched alongside the original iPad in 2010.



A study published last year by Citrix indicated that Apple's Numbers and Pages were among the top enterprise apps, with Numbers being fourth on the list, and Pages coming in behind tenth place iBooks. The other office suites, Docs2Go and QuickOffice, ranked behind Apple's iWork.

Citrix is used to provide mobile access to Windows desktops, meaning that Citrix users who were installing and using Numbers and Pages were doing so because they preferred working in local, native apps.

Productivity apps for iPad

A year later, Microsoft has launched its Excel, PowerPoint and Word titles on iPad, and appears to be seeing significant adoption among iOS users, judging by the popularity of Office titles in the App Store.

However, the company--which once ruled business productivity software--now faces stiff competition from a variety of free apps. The top free iPad productivity app is currently Notability, a clever word processing app (below) that allows users to type notes or sketch ideas in ink while recording audio; the app then connects the playback point of the audio with the notes as you take them, allowing you to review what was being said as you took your notes.

Notability


Behind Notability is Google Docs, followed by #3 Word, and Apple's Pages at #8. For spreadsheets, Google Sheets is the fourth most popular free productivity iPad app, followed by Excel at #5 and Numbers at #9. Microsoft Powerpoint is currently at #6, followed by Apple's Keynote at #10.

In addition to a series of innovative new independent productivity apps, Apple, Google and Microsoft have all recently brought to market enhanced new versions of their productivity suites.

Each has also enthusiastically adopted Apple's iOS App Store software model in delivering rapid updates at low cost; creating easy to use apps with simple interfaces that don't require extensive user training; and making extensive use of modern app features such as automatic saves, collaborative editing and cloud-based storage.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 132
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,434member
    Well... I obviously didn't get the memo. Just bought Office 2013 (for Windows) to *ahem* run on my Windows 8.1 virtual machine... on my mac...

    Don't ask... just wanted to get it. It's work related... :) However, may very well be my last Windows Office pack I'll buy.

    I refuse to subscribe to Office365. I shouldn't have to pay for the "privilege" to continuously use it.
  • Reply 2 of 132
    macky the mackymacky the macky Posts: 4,765member
    Hmmm.... Microsoft's two cash cows, Windows and Office are both sick and dying at the same time. Meanwhile their server business is being battered by strong competition. Microsoft's strong lock on the enterprise customer has weakened considerably.

    This is not the end for Microsoft, but it looks like the beginning of the end.
  • Reply 3 of 132
    macky the mackymacky the macky Posts: 4,765member
    I just picked up Notability for my iDevices. Looks very good, and it's free.
  • Reply 4 of 132
    bdkennedy1bdkennedy1 Posts: 1,459member
    My company has 200 employees and we all use Google Apps.
  • Reply 5 of 132
    Office 365 student pricing is amazing. It cost me £59.99 for a 4 year (2 device) licence. I have it activated on Windows and OS X on my one MacBook. It would cost me £109.99 just for a single licence version of Office:Mac.
  • Reply 6 of 132
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    This survey obviously didn't include my company. Where I work everyone uses Excel and PowerPoint extensively.
  • Reply 7 of 132
    sporlosporlo Posts: 143member
    That chart: Adobe Reader needs to die. It's the slowest and most unstable piece of software I've ever been forced to use. The fact that some PDFs require Adobe Reader to be opened properly is so sad.
  • Reply 8 of 132
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bdkennedy1 View Post



    My company has 200 employees and we all use Google Apps.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post



    Where I work everyone uses Excel and PowerPoint extensively.

    Makes sense. Too confusing to mix and match like the article suggests. From an IT perspective just stick to one platform. It doesn't really matter which one. You could even deploy all Macs and use iWork.

  • Reply 9 of 132
    negafoxnegafox Posts: 480member
    My current company is very Windows-centric to where the Intranet websites are all ASP.Net and only properly render in IE. My last job you can use any OS easily for development -- including CentOS.
  • Reply 10 of 132
    blah64blah64 Posts: 908member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bdkennedy1 View Post

    My company has 200 employees and we all use Google Apps.


    No snark intended here -- really. But management/IT at your company is okay with Google having access to your internal corporate documents? To me (and many, many large corporations), that's craziness. Please don't think for a minute that documents created and edited on google apps are private. Often times, contracts have stipulations such as "for your eyes only" or similar. There are a lot of things to consider, and frankly, many companies really haven't thought things through carefully. Or they are making decisions based on convenience (laziness) and naivety.

    Sure, for personal stuff it's really irrelevant, do whatever you want, but business documents and communication should always be local and fully under the control of management. Or at least that option needs to be available. Additionally, managing a dual-system is a really slippery slope, because people get used to doing their work online and it's easy to forget what kind of documents contain information that's highly confidential, or documents morph into something confidential over time.

    I have no idea what your company does, maybe everything is an open book. Just remember, that Includes everyone's salary, strategic plans, contracts, etc...
  • Reply 11 of 132
    kdryzerkdryzer Posts: 2member
    Folks if we all just keep trying we can wish Microsoft into the cornfield. 22 million subscribers to Office 365 proves that people want to use this software. Microsoft (and Cisco) are the DNA of corporate computing. Apple (whose products I own) isn't. IT depends upon Microsoft products because management and support tools are built into the products(including Office).
    One last point, there is no such thing as the "post PC era". Just a shift to smaller and more efficient devices. A computer performs these basic tasks: input, process, output whether in the form of a desktop computer or a smart phone.
  • Reply 12 of 132
    snovasnova Posts: 1,281member

    I tend to agree with this.  Most IT departments have a standard install set (or images) on all machines.  Regardless if and how often the tools will get used by each specific employee.  This allows various departments to compose documents in a format that they know everyone can read.  How often someone is required to compose depends on their role.  Which is a "don't care" form an IT point of view.  For most IT departments, I think it would create too much headache to try to determine who actually needs Office composition tools vs Read-Only tools to save some dollars here to justify custom installs.

  • Reply 13 of 132
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Sporlo View Post



    That chart: Adobe Reader needs to die. It's the slowest and most unstable piece of software I've ever been forced to use. The fact that some PDFs require Adobe Reader to be opened properly is so sad.

    Really? I have never used Reader since all the managers at our company have the full Acrobat Pro, but I have never had any issues with it. We use the Pro features extensively to extract/insert pages, annotations, lock documents, print production work flow, etc. It is really an indispensable tool for us. Never once had it crash or hang.

  • Reply 14 of 132
    chabigchabig Posts: 622member
    mstone wrote: »
    Really? I have never used Reader since all the managers at our company have the full Acrobat Pro, but I have never had any issues with it. We use the Pro features extensively to extract/insert pages, annotations, lock documents, print production work flow, etc. It is really an indispensable tool for us. Never once had it crash or hang.

    And on the Mac all of that is free with Preview.
  • Reply 15 of 132
    wubbuswubbus Posts: 70member
    Well they're all missing out because MS Excel is the greatest application ever written.
  • Reply 16 of 132
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by chabig View Post

     
    And on the Mac all of that is free with Preview.


    Well to be fair I didn't want to get too verbose but I'm sure Acrobat does a lot more than Preview. I often use Acrobat to create forms which actually calculate formulas from the input fields using a script. I'm sure Preview is fine for casual use but I wouldn't put it in the same professional category as Acrobat.

  • Reply 17 of 132
    sporlosporlo Posts: 143member
    mstone wrote: »
    Really? I have never used Reader since all the managers at our company have the full Acrobat Pro, but I have never had any issues with it. We use the Pro features extensively to extract/insert pages, annotations, lock documents, print production work flow, etc. It is really an indispensable tool for us. Never once had it crash or hang.
    It's more slow than unstable, but the difference between Preview and Reader on a Mac is ridiculous. Scrolling documents with Reader in Safari is practically impossible to control. But again, the worst part is that so many documents won't display all their contents unless you have Reader or other Adobe software. It's just the PDF version of the Flash nightmare.

    (and remember I'm comparing Preview to Reader, not Acrobat. However, I do know that Acrobat is still very crappy on Macs)
  • Reply 18 of 132
    euphoniouseuphonious Posts: 303member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Macky the Macky View Post



    Hmmm.... Microsoft's two cash cows, Windows and Office are both sick and dying at the same time.

     

    No. They're not.

     

    Windows has about 91% desktop market share (source). That's about the same as two years ago. Is that what you call 'dying'? Windows 8 may not have taken off as MS would have expected, but Windows still has an absolute stranglehold in the desktop market.

     

    Likewise, Office still has a stranglehold in the corporate environment. Web-based alternatives like Google Apps or competing products like iWork  may be gaining in popularity among consumers, but it is the corporate space where the money is made.

  • Reply 19 of 132
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Sporlo View Post

     
     However, I do know that Acrobat is still very crappy on Macs)


    Now that you mention it, I guess I do use Reader plugin in Safari. I've never experienced any issues with it that I can recall. As far as Acrobat Pro being crappy on Macs, I guess we must have different definitions of crappy. I have absolutely no complaints. It works flawlessly in my opinion. To me, it sounds like an Adobe hate issue or perhaps a problem with your computer.

  • Reply 20 of 132
    gman5541gman5541 Posts: 4member
    Nonsense. Office is iniquitous. Even if you're not using all of Office or none at all, you're using a suite that touts a degree of Office File Compatibility.
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