Large businesses have quickly moved their IT operations to the cloud, given their high funding resources. However, smaller companies and entrepreneurs have also found their way to the cloud through the many suitable technologies that are being offered free of charge. There are many free advanced functionality cloud tools offered by software suppliers.
Functionality generally ranges from general business productivity and word processing to project management and marketing. Below are some of the more effective free technology tools available in the marketplace.
1. Officebooks, developed by Ottawa manufacturer LightMachinery, was designed to help manage its laser optics business. The company expanded the program into a cloud based toolbox to assist other businesses. Tasks such as contacts, purchase orders, work orders and price quotes in addition to others are handled with ease.
The free edition is ad-supported with plans to offer a paid version. However, the company maintains that the option of a fully functional ad-supported free edition of OfficeBooks will always be available for users.
2. The Apps On Cloud tools allow full functionality for the storage and management of HR records, contacts and customers. Users may also collaborate with their team members through documents stored on the cloud. The program also tracks project status and supports customers online through a Help portal.
3. GoSuite from New York’s Gramercy One firm provides GoPromote and GoBook free of charge. The tools are designed for small businesses from repair shops to dance studios. It is capable of booking services, managing customers and promoting deals on websites and social networks. They also offer a paid upgrade including a mobile payment interface, along with vendor, employee and inventor management functions.
4. Zoho has over two dozen applications, including invoicing, CRM, messaging, web conferencing and project management. There is also a comprehensive document management app suite. The free Zohoprogram offers up to one gigabyte of storage or $3 per user for more. The program is similar to both Google’s free cloud offerings and Microsoft’s paid on-premises Office product.
5. Apptivo has a comprehensive collection of around 40 apps covering project management, CRM, inventory and time sheets, among other tasks. The company claims that any business with 200 or less employees should be able to utilize Apptivo’s apps for many, if not all of its business needs.
6. Similar to OfficeBooks, SoHoOS offers a free cloud combination of Intuit’s popular Quicken software for financial management and Salesforce’s and Google Apps’ paid programs for scheduling, messaging and documents.
There are clearly many very useful free technology business management tools available through the cloud environment. New free versions of software are continually offered in the marketplace, many of which are beta versions for testing. As a result, businesses should still ensure that an adequate backup of all of their data is done continually to assure no data loss.
The biggest benefit of using most all of the free technology management tools is that these versions are a great starting point for any new business. They provide the ability to get acquainted with operating in the cloud environment.
Companies can try out all of these free tools to see how well they integrate with their business operations. Then, if appropriate, it is easy for companies to migrate to the paid versions seamlessly in the future.
About the author: Terry Manning is a manager with grassroots.org. He enjoys helping businesses succeed in their ventures. He also enjoys traveling with his family.