Monday, July 23, 2012

Why I think Outlook is seriously flawed

Don't get me wrong, I think that Outlook is probably the best that there is in integration of an Office suite on a Personal Computer. The ability to tie all elements of document creation with your messaging and scheduling is almost perfect.

However, I have observed many what I would term "legacy" problems over the time that I have had experience with using the MS Office suite. I won't go on to detail the versions that I have had dealings with as I think that my observations go beyond the differences between them. In addition, I think that the flaws transcend these versions and as such maybe be beyond redemption.

The fact that the user base is spread across multiple versions and platforms makes a fix" neigh on impossible. My initial suspicions were based on the notion that I either didn't know what I was doing, quite possible, or it was just that the version that I was using was fundamentally different than the versions and data files that are used in the enterprise. What I was seeing was inconsistencies in .pst files when I was migrating users from old computers to replacement ones.

What I was seeing was multiple folders, inboxes - outboxes etc - with data that seemed to have broken links between them. I was kind of expecting to see more than one set of personal folders, one from the old install and a new one. However, what I was seeing was that the linkages that seemed to have worked before were now broken in the migrated data. Contacts that were in the original contact folder were either not there or could not be found when emails were initiated to recipients that had been mailed frequently in the past. Often these contacts had to be added back to the personal folder that contained the in-box that was wanting to be used.

As I was saying, I thought that this behavior was due to something that I was not "getting" or doing wrong. I have now seen almost the exact same thing happening to an organization that I thankfully have no commitment to their IT well-being.  In this case a failure in the organizations email seemed to have resulted in the corruption of their users Exchange servers accounts. Whether this is just I coincidence with the firing of their complete IT department I just don't know!

A final note about Windows 8 (RT) and Office:

I am of the opinion that there are likely to be a lot of "pissed" Microsoft customers that are waiting for the Surface and other "Windows" based tablets. As far as I can see Outlook, the email, calendar and contacts, are not going to be available for RT based machines.

If the tablet format is to be viable in the workplace an Outlook solution (or something like it) is essential.

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