Developer aims to ease upgrade process

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Australian developer ConverterTechnology has launched a file conversion service for companies seeking to upgrade their Microsoft business applications.

Marius Coomans, CEO at ConverterTechnology, said the service--using the developer's own file conversion software--targeted companies wanting to upgrade to the latest Microsoft Office packages but put off by the potential cost and scale of such an operation.

“Changes in the programming library between Microsoft Office 97 and Office 2000 have resulted in numerous incompatibilities between the different files, making manual conversion, especially of Microsoft Access databases, costly, time-consuming and highly disruptive,” Coomans said.

New versions of Microsoft software were designed to increase productivity but 40 percent of Australian companies were still locked into Microsoft Office 97 business applications, according to Coomans.

He estimates the emerging market for automated file conversion is worth more than $100 million a year in Australia. “With our 100 percent service offering, we can undertake the entire conversion process, from beginning to end, on behalf of a company,” Coomans said.

ConverterTechnology file conversion software--formerly known as OfficeConverter--can convert documents saved in early versions of Microsoft Office to Office XP, 2000, 97 and 2003 for cost savings of up to 90 percent, according to the company.

Tim Hickernell, vice president at industry analyst META Group, said companies often put too much focus on converting simple, rarely used documents and not enough on converting complex documents used in core business process automation.

“The greatest document conversion costs associated with migrating from one office productivity suite to another result from converting highly customised documents, such as templates and documents with embedded macros,” Hickernell said.

ConverterTechnology started developing its file conversion software in 1997, with a view to using it against predicted Y2K problems. The file conversion software has been available commercially since July last year but 75 percent of its sales are to the US, the company said.

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