Office suite software isn't really all that important.
What's important is pretty much anything else. What your organization is doing: research, services, saving lives, preserving order, education. Preserving the rain forest. Rebuilding New Orleans. Job retraining. Heck, you could argue that a good pumpkin pie is essentially more important than software.
OK, the office suite software helps you do all those things I listed and a million more. But I want to point out that our goal in our eight hours a day is not to use software. It's everything else.
All right. So now think about this.
OpenOffice.org is free.
Other office suites are not.
You switch to OpenOffice.org, and you or your organization is suddenly not spending $500, or $50,000, or $5 million on your office suite licenses.
Add up all the other people or organizations who are no longer spending that money on an office suite, and suddenly we're into some serious cash.
Think about how much your city police force spends on office suite software, and about how that money could probably do some good if it were spent on, say, salaries for additional police.
Think about what that research facility down the road spends on software. Compared to the money they spend for their equipment, maybe not much, but it's money probably better spent on upping the salaries for a few poor post-docs than on office suite software.
Think about how much money the federal government spends on office suite software. Now fantasize about how you would redirect that money if you were in charge.
(Almost makes $4,000 toilet seats pale in comparison, doesn't it? OK, toilet seats are already white, but you know what I mean.)
Amazon saved $17 million when they switched to Linux. Same principle--pay less for something that's not part of your core business.
Think about how much your state spends on office suite software for schools, and how many more teachers and books that money could buy.
Education is one of the most important places to think about OpenOffice.org. Education is, to put it mildly, important. Plus, third graders aren't likely to complain that they're used to how Word does styles and they don't want to switch. They're open to anything new. And education isn't exactly overfunded. I live in Colorado which is either 49th or 47th in the nation in funding for education.
For educators, here's an interesting article on trends this year, including OpenOffice.org.
For anyone thinking about upgrading to Vista, here's an important blog. Dave Rosenberg states that Vista gives you an opportunity to really compare the actual cost and the actual benefits, and he quotes Jon Oltsik from Enterprise Strategy Group.
So just think about the value. Think about how much money you're spending on your office suite, and what you could do with that money that would be more important.