OpenOffice has been around for years and is considered the most popular open source alternative to the Microsoft Office Suite. While it lacks some of the finesse and features Microsoft Office is known for, it does have some very strong points that business users can take advantage of.

No Licensing Fees
Many small and even large businesses are weighed down with fees they have to pay just to keep the software their employees are using operational. Many companies pay extremely high amounts to lease systems, license software, and for the support that keeps them both running. If even a single program cost can be removed from the business’ budget, this can make a remarkable difference on the bottom line and open finances up to spend on more important things, like hiring more employees and taking them out to lunch.

Compatibility isn’t a Big Problem
If I were to tell a graphics-heavy business to switch from Photoshop to Gimp to cut costs, they would probably laugh at me. The reason for this is simply that Gimp can’t handle many settings present in a typical .PSD file since it’s a proprietary format that contains features and quirks programs like Gimp don’t fully support. In the world of office applications, however, file formats and features are much less restrictive. A spreadsheet created in Microsoft Excel without an intense amount of macro functionality attached to it will most likely open just fine in its OpenOffice equivalent. The same goes for Word documents.

It’s Consistent on Any Operating System
Some offices have diverse IT needs requiring employees to work on Windows, Mac, and Linux systems. A graphics artist or video editor might feel comfortable on a Mac while customer service and human resource work is done primarily on a Windows machine. Your IT department might be run entirely on Linux machines and everyone needs to be able to access the same information in the exact same way. This can be achieved with OpenOffice as every distribution looks and feels the same no matter what machine it’s installed on. This kind of consistency can save you from having to retrain staff should management decide to switch the company from one platform to another.

To be clear here, Microsoft Office is extremely robust and by far the most recognized office productivity software suites on the market. This is the result of millions of dollars of research and development. OpenOffice is built on the backbone of a more open market depending on a community of driven developers to create a usable solution to otherwise expensive software. The purpose of this article is to share a few examples of how OpenOffice can not only save your company money, but give it a more consistent and productive workflow between departments, no matter how diverse your IT infrastructure may be.