HyperOffice President Extends Help to Wildfire Victims
November 05, 2007 (5:00:00 PM)
By: Lisa Hoover
Farzin Arsanjani, president of HyperOffice
is 2,600 miles away from where the wildfires blazed their way through
southern California, but that hasn't stopped him from lending a hand to
the businesses caught in the path of the flames. Arsanjani announced
last week that he will provide HyperOffice's Web-based suite of
collaborative business tools free for 90 days to any company displaced
by the recent spate of wildfires.
HyperOffice's toolkit includes calendars, document and task
managers, forums, email, and file storage. Since the tools make it
possible for employees to work together outside of the typical office
environment, Arsanjani says HyperOffice is perfect for keeping a
business running "in the face of difficult circumstances."
Arsanjani says his years of experience in and around the world
of small business was the motivating factor behind his offer. "I have
great appreciation for SMB [small and medium-sized business] owners and
executives who passionately believe in what they do and have the
courage to take on the world with limited resources.
"SMBs are in a constant state of survival and have no time or resources
to plan for disasters and to build contingencies into their business
model. While these disasters may be a serious inconvenience for large
companies, they are fatal disasters for SMBs. Thanks to our technology
and the internet, we are in a position to deliver vital services to
these [small businesses] and help them get back on their feet.
Arsanjani extended the same offer to people affected by
Hurricane Katrina in 2005, although he says that was a very different
type of disaster. "It took out infrastructure -- communications,
Internet, streets, entire suburbs and downtowns -- that are still not
rebuilt and that have still not recovered. HyperOffice at the time was
a much smaller company, [but] the few customers that we ended up
helping were enough to prove we did the right thing, and we're happy
with that result."
All businesses need to get started is an computer or handheld
device with an Internet connection and any standard browser, such as
Firefox, Safari, or Internet Explorer. HyperOffice also has a special
login page optimized for dial-up users. Implementation takes anywhere
from a few minutes to a few hours, depending on the level of
customization required, and training tools are available on the site
for anyone who is unfamiliar with online office suites.
If businesses want to stop using HyperOffice after 90 days,
Arsanjani says moving documents and files offline is a snap. "We
provide a number of tools for customers to move their information and
documents offline to store on local drives," he says. "Depending on the
system they had in place before, they should be able to move back." If
businesses want to continue using HyperOffice, prices range from $6 to
$9 a month per user, based on the number of user accounts a company
What if a business needs more than 90 days to get back on
their feet, or simply can't decide whether or not to stay with
HyperOffice? "They can continue using our service on a month-to-month
basis at an affordable rate," Arsanjani says, "or they can cancel
anytime and move on. No long-term commitments are required. This is one
of the main benefits of SaaS [Software as a Service]. Unlike the 'pay
and pray' model offered by the premise-based software vendors, we earn
our customers' business every day."
Scott Alevy, vice president of public policy and
communications for the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, says
businesses affected by wildfires appreciate the generosity of offers
like Arsanjani's. He notes that, especially in the dot-com environment
of southern California, people often see their technology, phone
numbers, and Web presence as an extension of their identity. When those
things are unavailable or disrupted, "it's very personal," and anything
that helps a person maintain the normalcy they're used to is important.
Alvey says that anywhere from 300 to 1,000 businesses were
affected by the recent fires, but pinning down an exact number is
difficult since many businesses are home-based. He points out that in
addition to the number of structures that were damaged, "thousands of
businesses were also affected by employees that couldn't come to work."
Many service providers, such as the phone, cable, and electric
companies, are offering free service to affected customers, but Alvey
says HyperOffice is the first company he knows of that has stepped
forward with a way to help businesses stay on track via the Internet.
"It's the sort of things that helps make people whole," he says. "It's
Arsanjani says though it's too early to tell how many
businesses will take him up on his offer, he'll accommodate as many as
necessary. He estimates it will cost HyperOffice approximately $550 per
company, but "it doesn't matter. It's the right thing to do."