Popular Cloud Applications For Business15 Aug
One of the main advantages of the cloud is being able to provision server space or applications as needed, or as a service. This is more formally known as Software-as-a-Service, or SaaS. The SaaS model allows customers to use the application for a smaller recurring cost as opposed to purchasing individual versions or licenses. This is especially helpful for updates to the application as customers don’t need to purchase or install updated versions and instead leave that up to the provider. Furthermore, it leaves all the “technical” stuff up to the provider as well, putting less of a strain on your own resources. Many companies, large and small, are turning to SaaS products to not only improve productivity but to reduce cost as well. Let’s take a look at some of the popular Saas products out there right now.
The first product that comes to mind and one that has taken big strides in the last few years is SalesForce. SalesForce continues to be the class of the SaaS CRM space allowing customers to easily keep track and monitor sales. SalesForce provides options for analytics, custom dashboards, email marketing, sales forecasting, and real time data sharing among many other features. SalesForce also provides additional services including a fully customizable help desk and customer service solution as well as B2B marketing platforms. SalesForce may be considered by some to be the most successful and widely used cloud product around.
The days of loading Microsoft Office on to every machine in the company is slowly coming to an end with the creation of Office 365. Office 365 is Microsoft’s cloud platform for Microsoft Office. It includes your usual Office suspects such as Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Exchange/Outlook, as well as OneNote, Lync, and SharePoint. Its integration with AD has been a plus for many organizations as well. Office 365 is best used in a private of single-tenant environment as the multi-tenant environments do have restrictions on third party add-ons, such as SharePoint web parts.
Even in the digital age businesses still rely on “paper” documents to build partnerships, create agreements, or do other business. However, applications such as DocuSign have made it easier than ever to have these documents “signed, sealed, and delivered”. DocuSign is an electronic signing application that allows recipients to sign documents online. It allows the creator to show the recipient important parts of the document and where to sign. DocuSign also keeps these documents in a repository (with the option to download) so you can view them at any time.
Perhaps the most underrated project management application out there today is Basecamp, a cloud-based PM application. It’s Classic version was released in 2004 with a newer version launched recently in 2012. Basecamp provides users with everything they need to complete projects and maintain communication throughout the process. Basecamp provides easily collaboration with up-loadable documents and a load of add-ons for time tracking, Gantt charts, desktop usage, as well as access via your mobile device.
In simple terms the cloud has given businesses of all shapes and sizes the ability to be more nimble and collaborate more easily than they ever could with their on-site solutions. Cloud services for finance, project management, desktop publishing, and mobile communication and many more have brought about a new and exciting ways of doing business at a much lower cost. As we continue in to the future expect more cloud services to surface that are more robust and easy to use than we could have imagined.