One of my tech friends said, “Ramon your content is too upbeat, too cheerful, when you write about technology”.
(1) I tend to only write about good technology. I get a lot of press releases and pitches that I don’t cover. Why bring you BAD technology that you should not use?
(2) The technology I do cover, I’m often very excited about. I LOVE tech solutions that can help your business GROW and I suppose this comes out in my upbeat writing style.
This excitement is what I feel as I write about the new WebExOne from Webex. Formerly Intranets.com, but purchased by online conference service Webex (announced in Aug 2005), WebExOne is the new name of the newly acquired company. I’ll have more on this in a separate article post.
From Webex’s WebExOne expect to see the continued evolution of Intranets.com with a lot more features and a better interface.
(Read Inside WebExOne for more on the Webex purchase of Intranets.com)
Here’s my take on Webexoffice…
On Monday, WebExOne announced the release of four new products. WebOffice Workgroup, WebOffice Personal, MeetMenow and PC Now.
Yesterday I had a pretty thorough, briefing and live review of Weboffice and although I’m going to tell you a about it here, you get a 30 day free trial, so your best bet is to give it a try yourself.
Weboffice contains a full suite of tools to help a small business communicate with their own employees, customers and partners.
The main tools contained in your Weboffice are a contact list, database, discussion board, document repository, expense report filing area, polls, tasks and a place to view members of your weboffice.
Sure, there’s a lot of programs that have these features but what is very slick about Weboffice is that each of these tools has security features down to the group or individual level that you or an administrator can set. In addition the deep collaboration and integration is robust.
For example, if you create a new task, you can make that new task available for just yourself, just you and “Jane” or just you and the accounting team. You can assign Jane a task and she’ll then see it in her to do list. You can even let Bill, Jane’s supervisor, see that you assigned her the task and let him view its progress as well.
I could go on and on with examples like this but trust me, it’s not just pretty cool but so useful and powerful collaboration. Being able to keep others informed, share or not share and grant permission or not grant permission permeates throughout Weboffice in a powerful way.
The other MAJOR thing to note is that WebOffice comes with a SQL based relational database. This means it’s fast, feature rich and for many needs, competitive with PC based applications such as Microsoft Access, File Maker Pro and Intuit’s Quickbase, a hosted application.
The main page of your business’ WebOffice contains a My Yahoo like portal into your office’s every day tasks. The panes in the portal are customizable so you can readily display what’s most important to you. The default portal shows the latest company announcements, what’s going on that day,
important links, newly updated documents and other things that each user and/or administrator can define.
Like other competing services (such as Eunify, HyperOffice, Eureka Networks and others), you can put your own company’s logo on the Weboffice. This sounds small, but its important to making the online office – YOUR business’ office.
Going forward Webex should consider (and I’m sure they are) making user interface more dynamic. Right now WebOffice uses standard Windows based programming tools like ASP and basic HTML code (including cascading style sheets). However, more online applications are using the programming code “Ajax”, which Google’s Gmail uses and Yahoo Mail will move to. It makes things so much faster as there are less screen refreshes. Everything feels more dynamic and is faster. Almost as if you were not using an online application but instead using a desktop program right on your PC.
How much does this cost:
WebOffice Workgroup pricing starts at $59.95 for five users. Users can add web meetings for an additional $49.95 per month per host, with a 5 host minimum, so that comes to about $250.00 if you want a Webex web conferencing account.
WebOffice Personal is offered at $49.95 per month. This includes being able to conduct Web Meetings with up to 5 participants.
Having a hosted application makes it easy to get up and running with these kind of services. There’s no software to install on computers and you don’t need teams of consultants in your office.
If you are looking for a way to collaborate, share information and keep your local or dispersed office connected, I would HIGHLY recommend you give WebExOne’s Weboffice a try.