New upgrade to cloud-based collaborative suite adds AJAX-based UI, free support for smartphones, and other features
By Daniel Dern (27 May 2010)
Small businesses get to be nimble early adopters for many technology products, like smartphones, netbooks, and social networking, because they don’t have the long decision processes or the constraints of fitting it into enterprise IT. But other technologies often come complete with roadblocks, like needing on-site or near-site IT, or servers, larger-number commitments, or price.
On May 20, 2010, Rockville, Maryland-based HyperOffice Inc. announced the new version of its cloud-based HyperOffice Collaboration Suite, collaborative office software suite intended for small and medium-sized business, and for departments within larger companies.
According to the company, HyperOffice users have anywhere from five to 250 employees. “Our typical client has twenty-five employees, and no full-time IT person — maybe somebody doing IT on a monthly retainer plus project-basis tasks,” says Shahab Kaviani, EVP, Marketing and Product Marketing, HyperOffice.
HyperOffice delivers its applications as SaaS, although the company also offers optional desktop components that enhance some activities such as using Microsoft Outlook. In addition to avoiding need for on-site IT gear or support, the cloud-based approach allows not just employees but also customers, suppliers and other business partners to collaborate, share documents and calendaring/scheduling, and other activities.
The suite’s integrated features include online document management, online calendars, Outlook synchronization, online Contact Management, online project management, and online database management, plus Wikis, intranet/extranet publishing, data security, discussion forums, and mobile device support.
I.e., you’d still use office productivity programs like Microsoft Word or Excel, but can easily share these files through the group-accessible “Hyperdrive,” which is visible to Windows Explorer as a virtual disk drive. “We let you open, work on and save any shared Office documents,” says Kaviani.
Features in the new release include:
* Mobile support, e.g., usable from any smartphone or mobile device, including Apple iPhones, at no additional cost. “Small businesses want ‘push’ email, but don’t want to have to get a BlackBerry server or pay the extra monthly fee,” says Kaviani. “We let mobile device be synched over the air to what’s native to the device. Our HyperSynch uses a web client, and lets you use tools you already have, like seeing and accessing your HyperOffice drive through Windows Explorer — you don’t have to login to it.
* Shared group Wikis (the ability to create and use them)
* Tab-opening multiple email messages
* More robust project management
According to Kaviani, HyperOffice’s products differ from other established messaging and collaboration offerings in a number of ways. For example, Kaviani says, some do specific tasks; for example, BaseCamp does project management. Some include multiple tools, but aren’t fully integrated yet. Some are available only through channel partners, not directly from the provider. And some, being enterprise-oriented, are feature-rich but can be too complex or expensive for a smaller business.
As part of their direct sales approach, HyperOffice also offers training and support, including administrative set-up through end-user support.
HyperOffice is available for a per-month subscription fee, based on the number of users, and features. A free trial is available.