There are several online collaboration services that help businesses share documents, schedules, contacts and projects. Many of these services include email, polling and other tools and services to bring together employees, customers and partners.
You can install software on your own servers or use a hosted service such as HyperOffice, WebOffice, eUnify, Office Live and other tools. There’s another service, you might have seen their advertisements by Simdesk. The differentiating feature of Simdesk is its remote printing capabilities.
I’m not sure exactly how this works, but you can take ANY internet enabled device and print to any shared printer with Simdesk. This is powerful as you can be on the road and print documents to your office from any Internet enabled mobile device.
I also like that when working from your computer you can save documents to an “S:” drive which saves the document to your shared Simdesk folder.
It’s really a tough choice to decide which service is for you. If you want tight integration with Microsoft Office, my guess would be that Microsoft’s OfficeLive would be something high on your list of consideration.
WebOfice by WebEx, formerly of Intranets.com is VERY feature rich and I think has the most features to offer including integration with WebEx’s flagship virtual conferencing service.
eUnify has a powerful database component of its online collaboration service. If databases are important to you but you want it hosted and in a collaborative environment eUnify is something to consider.
For those of you who want the full power of Microsoft Outlook collaboration you have to use it with Exchange server. HyperOffice offers a full range of Outlook features but for much less money installing, maintaining and supporting Exchange.
Here’s the costs of these services but I WARN YOU – these prices are not giving the same feature set for each service. For example, if you read that X costs $1 and Y costs $1.5 that does not mean that X is cheaper overall. X could be offering less or different features.
Simdesk – $15/month per account
HyperOffice – $40/month for 5 users
WebEx Office – $60/month for 5 users
eUnify – $40/month for 5 users
Office Live – $30/month
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