Showing posts with label document management. Show all posts
Showing posts with label document management. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The App Train for your Business (InfoGraphic)

The App Train

Top 10 Cloud Apps for your Business introduced apps often used from the cloud. There are several vendors to chose from when implementing these apps. The infographic above shows some of the many options available.  Each vendor has their strengths. Choosing the right vendor depends on your needs and preferences.  Contact AppTrain for help with your cloud solutions.

Document Management
Google Drive
Zoho Docs
Amazon S3

Project Management
Zoho Projects
Salesforce Do

Website Publishing

Zoho Invoice

Customer Relationships
Microsoft Dynamics

Mailing Lists

Version Control

Issue Tracking

Site Monitoring

Monday, August 26, 2013

Top 10 Cloud Apps for your Business

Cloud Computing has graduated from being a technology buzzword to being an essential part of any business or organization. Let's take a look at the main categories off apps that have made the move from shrink wrapped software installed on our local clients, to web based clients that we can run from anywhere. Each of the ten apps covered here are provided by multiple vendors. Example apps are provided. Some of the leading vendors for each category are mentioned, along with a few AppTrain favorites.  Additional cloud apps for your business are listed in The App Train for your Business infographic.

1. Email

Email was the first business app that moved to the cloud. Even legacy organizations that still operate email servers now accommodate employees with web based email clients. In the AppTrain email comparison in March, GMail and Zoho Mail emerged as the front-runners for Email in the cloud.


2. Document Management

Cloud storage offers lower costs, better security, better integration, and improved productivity when compared to legacy office networks. The integration and productivity come from excellent Content Management tools that have evolved. Again Google and Zoho are the favorites in this space.


3. Project Management

Project Management tools will be the subject of a future AppTrain comparison article. BaseCamp is the forefather of the web based project management revolution. But the space is now quite crowed , and some excellent tools like Teambox are emerging.

4. Website Publishing

A clear favorite did not emerge from our Cloud Based Website Builder comparison. The quick site builders fall short when compared to publishing tools like WordPress and Joomla. It seems a Cloud Based Website Publisher Comparison would be more appropriate. Linux for You has an excellent WordPress vs Drupal vs Joomla comparison.

5. Accounting

For invoicing The in-house favorite here at AppTrain has been Freshbooks.  Freshbooks is a classic start in your parents basement company that is now an a accounting leader in the Cloud.

6. Customer Relationships

I'm not a big acronym guy. But  Saleforce has put CRM on the map and has branched into one of the leading cloud computing companies. SugarCRM entered this field not long after, and more recently Zoho has joined the game with , you could have guess it,   ZohoCRM. Leadmaster and Microsoft Dynamics certainly deserve consideration just for not using an acronym in their name.

7. Mailing Lists

When a customer wants to do email marketing, We beg them not to, and try to hip them to social media. But if they must, We refer them to MailChimp. It's good to know Monkey's are still finding work since the space program has cut back.

8. Version Control

Version Control is really document management for programmers. When a client starts developing software they're morphing into a competitor of AppTrain. To make the fight fair, we make sure they know about Unfuddle.  Unfuddle is a collaboration suite for programmers and includes project management and issue tracking along with version control.  The version control options are Subversion and Git but it's the integration with the other tools that sets it apart.

9. Issue Tracking

Things that don't work are called issues. When the issue with software it's called a bug. Do you think Unfuddle developers tracked issues in Bugzilla? Or the creators of Fogbuzz logged bugs in BaseCamp? All four of these tools are excellent, so more than likely, they ate their own dogfood.

10. Site Monitoring

Once a web site or product is in production, we want to make sure it stays working. Uptrends can check any site, verify content and perform multiple step transactions from multiple sites around the globe. They then send alerts via email or SMS when a site isn't performing properly. MxToolbox is a great tool for making sure your dns records are in order, and for staying off spam lists.  They also provide email alerts.

By developing an effective cloud strategy, companies can obtain and keep a competitive edge over companies stuck spending money and time maintaining legacy in-house IT Infrastructures. AppTrain migrates existing infrastructures to cloud solutions, and provides training to help maintain productivity through a seamless transition to the cloud.

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  Microsoft has progressed enormously over the past couple years in the world of cloud solutions and SkyDrive reflects that progress.

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.


"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.

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.

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.


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.

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

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.

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.

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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