I run a small network (3 machines + dedicated server with SBS). One machine has now died suddenly and that has crystallised an issue I have been putting off for a year or two, namely upgrade. Before I talk to the IT guy, I would really appeciate any bits of help or need to know that fellow accountants can offer (and bearing in mind that I've never felt the need to be cutting edge on IT). I have the following software-related questions but would also value any hardware advice you can offer:
We're still on Windows XP. Can we stick with that or is it better to go to Windows 7? As that's new, is it proven in a business context?
We're still using Office 2002 (with exception of Outlook). As above, are we going to have to upgrade all the way upto Office 2010? Do you have to accept the ribbon or is there an option to use the old-style menus (I've used the ribbon in Excel and don't mind it but still prefer dropdown menus)? Presumably there are no compatability issues between Office 2007 (which lots of clients now have) and 2010?
Upgrading Office on 3 computers is going to be expensive. What are the pros and cons of only upgrading on the new machine and leaving the other two as they were? More radically, I know quite a lot of posters on here have mentioned using OpenOffice or similar: how does that work, presumably OpenOffice can open MS Office files? In particular, though, I've written my own practice management app in Access with VBA. Would I be right in assuming that OpenOffice cannot handle that?
Many thanks for any and all answers.