Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Cloud Based Content Management Comparision

Cloud based Content Management is the service that holds other cloud applications together, similar to the way a traditional office network held together desktop services.  Email, Project Management and Web Site builders all need to be able to integrate with a Content Management service.  Few enterprises can afford to ignore the benefits of cloud based document management, or web based content management.  Cloud storage offers lower costs, better security, better integration, and improved productivity.

Content Management in the Cloud has begun to share functionality with Cloud Based Website Builders. None of the tools in the Website Builder Comparision  article fared well.  The main reason is that focus is moving to the Content Management systems.

 Google DriveSkyDriveZoho Docs, and HyperOffice are all similarly priced, and offer generous free storage to get started.  Basic file editing is available from browsers and phones, but after that differences are significant.



Microsoft SkyDrive

is essentially SharePoint re-branded.  When you log into SkyDrive it runs from sharepoint.com.  Microsoft has progressed enormously over the past couple years in the world of cloud solutions and SkyDrive reflects that progress.

Benefits
Microsoft's strengths are still rooted in the desktop world, so every effort is made to integrate with those applications.  For a workforce comfortable with these tools,  SkyDrive is the clear choice for migrating to cloud based services.   SkyDrive can edit documents in just about every popular Microsoft format, and SkyDrive's integration with Microsoft Office sets it apart from competitors.

Criticisms

"SkyDrive is a work in progress" concludes David Sobatta in his article comparing document management performance.  The lack of important features like uploading multiple files, collaboration among multiple editors,  autosave and versioning of documents is frustrating for anyone who has used the better tools available. SkyDrive needs work.

Google Drive

 is the established leader in Web based content management.   Formerly called Google Docs, it's been around since 2007, and has continuously improved over that time.

Benefits
Most every capability needed to create edit and manage documents is available in the web based editor. The user interface consistently outperforms the competition in document management comparisons.  As Derrick Wlodarz explains,  "Google Apps brings an interesting breath of fresh air to the cloud platform market, while Microsoft feels like it’s forcing the tie-ins back to its desktop roots in order to make a cloud presence."  With not only a superior interface, but more functionality than the competition, Google Drive is a great choice for any business.


Criticisms
Editing in Google Drive is fantastic, but you're forced to used their own formats. Editing a Microsoft document requires first converting into Google Docs format, and with complex documents, some formatting can be lost.  Many business users still need desktop capabilities to edit more complex Word documents and spreadsheets.


HyperOffice 

Benefits
Hyper Office Document Management incldues their Document Collaboration Solution. The file permissions, access control and version control are as good or better than any of the other three solutions. While Google Drive and Zoho both offer revision history,  HyperOffice provides complete version control with comments, audit trails, pruning, and overwrite protection.  There forms solution called HyperBase works as good as any other form provider as well.


Criticisms
HyperOffice does not offer complete online editing tools.  Their approach is to leave editing to desktop applications.   HyperOffice also has a much smaller user base than other tools mentioned here, so Online support is limited.

Zoho Docs

Benefits
Zoho has caught up with Google as fare as usability and features, and has even started to surpass them with support for some VBA scripts, and better sharing capabilities across different email providers.  Zoho's office tools work great in collaboration with their other products.  So if you love Zoho Mail, Projects, and Sites, then you'll love Zoho Docs.

Criticisms
Some users have complained that  compared to Google Docs, Zoho Docs can be slow.  I didn't experience  this, but it's worth mentioning.  It's also worth noting the comment below the linked TechJotter article which says "In 2013, Zoho is so much better than Google Docs, it isn’t even funny."  Zoho is building a passionate fanbase, and if you check out their products you'll see why.



Conclusions
Google DriveZoho Docs, HyperOffice and  SkyDrive have all made great strides in Document Management , or more broadly Content Management.  Cloud based content management is the key to success for tomorrow's business.  Google's lead in this field has been just about erased by the products at Zoho.  And the mighty Microsoft is starting to move in the right direction.  HyperOffice is promising, but has some work to do to compete with the 3 leaders in Cloud based Content Management.




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