Zoho Ho Ho

Tis the season of predictions (sing to Deck the Halls).

For years, people have been predicting The Demise of Microsoft, The Next Big Application, The Demise of Apple, Cloud Computing, and, of course, Online Applications. That last actually has some merit, though largely for security reasons, it has never entirely taken off.

The notion here is that rather than install an application on your computer (like, Microsoft Word, for example), you will be able to log on to a website and use an application from the host's server.

Google Documents convinced us that this was actually possible. Not only can you create and share documents with it, but it will also open and save documents that are compatible with Microsoft Office documents, the de facto standard for these type of files.

You might also want to consider Zoho.

Zoho is a beefed up type of Google Documents - it is a "productivity suite" that offers not only a word processor, spreadsheet, and presentation (PowerPoint) type software, but also includes Chat, CRM, Mail, Project Management software, Database, Invoicing, Reports, a Wiki, and more. Basically, everything you might need to run you office.

While Zogo does promise a free entry point - for individuals, or for limited use - most services are based on fees for organizations.

And if you want an enterprise-type solution, with cross-application compatibility, try Zoho Business. As its creators explain, "Zoho Business is both an application and a kind of online "platform" that aggregates a number of Zoho applications into a single dashboard for users to manage the Zoho services they have subscribed to as well as a place to view and access all your documents. It also provides a sharable calendar, supports groups, contacts, e-mail, tasks and a means to add and pay for additional Zoho services and eventually other third party services. One of the main differences between using Z Business vs. the standalone "Personal" edition applications, is that it provides company level subscriptions, an administrator console and a set-up for different office locations. Once an administrator logs in, he/she can add users, locations and pay for the services required with a credit card from our secure online store. You can even replace the Zoho logo with your own company logo, register domain names that belong to your company and have employees access their Zoho Business account using those domain names."

Various applications are available in multiple languages, and AdventNet.Inc. assures us that your documents are secured through a combination of physical, hardware, logical/software and process security measures. (I hate to say this, because it's a bit like tempting the hacker-Gods, but I use Google Documents, and have had no security issues to date.)

Zoho is compatible with Microsoft products, so you can import documents other people supple, and you will be able to send your documents to associates who rely on Microsoft.

I have yet to hear that the online application solution has been adopted to solve the various office productivity issues it might solve - sharing documents, remote access without VPN, easy access and sharing of very large files, version control, etc. But with products like Zoho in the works, that day may very well be in our future!


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