Migrating to ODF

This week I had occasion to talk to some slides I had prepared earlier this year about migrating to ODF, the OpenDocument Format (also ISO/IEC 26300:2006). There were four slides total in that part of the talk and what follows is the text from those slides with a couple of edits. There’s clearly a lot more that can be said on the topic, but in the hope that these thoughts get people thinking about their own situation, I’ll start with this.

Assess Your Situation: 10 Questions

  1. What is the extent of your current use of word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation documents?
  2. How complicated are your documents?
  3. Do they extensively use complicated templates and macros?
  4. How often do you access older documents?
  5. How often do you change older documents?
  6. On what desktop platforms do you create and view most of your documents?
  7. What desktop platforms do you plan to use in the future?
  8. How often are your documents shared within and outside your organization?
  9. Do you plan to increase the availability of your documents on the Web?
  10. What did you learn from previous, similar migration experiences?

10 possible elements of your ODF migration strategy

  1. Continue the availability of your current document software at the current version for changing older documents for a set period of time.
  2. Start using newer software that supports older formats as well as ODF, for example, the IBM Workplace Client, Sun StarOffice, or an open source solution like OpenOffice or KOffice.
  3. Start translating templates, particularly the simpler ones, to ease in use of OpenDocument Format and increase familiarity.
  4. Increase your use of Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) for documents that are shared but not modified by the recipients.
  5. Phase in use of ODF by workgroup or by functional area.
  6. Identify and train potential local experts or “gurus” who can help others with their basic questions.
  7. Set explicit policy and a deadline for migration to ODF.
  8. Take advantage of the resources provided by the ODF Alliance and the OASIS ODF Adoption Committee.
  9. Establish a network with others who are also doing a migration to share your experience and solutions.
  10. Strongly recommend to your current software provider that they support ODF in a first class, native manner.

One Comment

  1. Excellent lists! In the Migration Strategy Elements list, i want to emphasize in particular 6 and 9.

    6 Identify and train potential local experts or “gurus” who can help others with their basic questions.
    9 Establish a network with others who are also doing a migration to share your experience and solutions.

    As for the “I don’t know anything about OpenOffice but I know I don’t want to change” issues you might encounter with some users, exposure to the software can really reduce the fear and loathing. Many students show up in my classes and see the software for the first time. Then the reaction is often “Wow, it’s so much like Word.” To help increase exposure and positive attitude, ideas could include hosting OpenOffice lunch and learns, emailing out very short tips with screen shots, showing cool stuff even if it’s not all that useful (graphics, 3D, animation), and so on.

Comments are closed