The future is in cloud. The future is in open source. The future is great benefits and increased speed at low-costs. I've heard about it. I've read about it. But I never really understood what it was. So I started digging. I read a lot about cloud. And about open source. And I finally realized what it is. And from that moment I began to ask myself all sorts of questions. About communication, about documents, about archiving, about the possibility of sharing with others real-time information, and much more. And my universe has expanded considerably in just a split second. I understood that my fear of not being able to communicate and share documents with others because I had not installed on my notebook a version of Office from Microsoft was false. And I also understood that the future is something that would have been unthinkable a few years ago: the open source Web office.
No hardware, no software
I learned that there are programs who makes it possible to operate cohesively without an in-house server. One of these programs is Google Apps. If you use Gmail for your personal mail, then the benefits are probably apparent. Proven cost savings Google's web-based messaging and collaboration apps require no hardware or software and need minimal administration, creating tremendous time and cost savings for businesses. A leading research firm found that Google Apps is as little as 1/3 the total cost of competing solutions. But this is not all. With several options for accessing their information while on the go, employees can be productive with Google Apps even when they're not at their desks. Also, Google Apps will be available at least 99.9% of the time, so your employees are more productive and so you can worry less about system downtime. And Google Apps also includes Google Docs and Google Calendar, both customizable to fit your needs, a chat and a video chat. The prices are also catching: Premier Edition of Google Apps costs $50 per user per year, but a comparable version is available to qualifying nonprofits for free.
There are some competitors
But Google Apps is not the only open source Web office. OpenGoo 1.0 is, also , an open source Web office, a complete solution for every organization to create, collaborate, share and publish all its internal and external documents. OpenGoo 1.0 includes a webmail server as well as a Web-based word processor, spreadsheet, presentation program, shared calendar, to-do list, contacts organizer, and bookmarks manager, all accessible through one unified Web interface.
Also an open source Web office is Feng Office, the most popular web-based Open Source collaboration platform, with more than 100,000 users to date. Feng Office allows businesses to manage project tasks, billing, documents, communication with co-workers, customers and vendors, schedule meetings and events, and share every kind of electronic information.
These new Office solutions will raise the bar
And probably there are other open source Web office solutions, lower or unreleased. But all of these new Office solutions will certainly raise the bar and would enable all market actors, including Microsoft, to rethink their strategy for Office Products.
Because the future is, undoubtedly, of open source solutions. At least this is my opinion.