Zoho – Leader of the Pack!

This week in class we have been discussing the growing trend of Rich Internet Applications or RIAs.  RIAs are web applications that provide the rich functionality of desktop applications via the web.  One growing area of RIAs is business productivity applications.  The last several years have seen the emergence of many players in this arena, but two stand out with functionality and usability – Google Docs and Zoho.  And now, Microsoft is making a play for market share with its offering – Microsoft Web Applications 2010.

We have all used business productivity applications.  In North America, the most widely used is the Microsoft Office suite of applications which includes a word processor, spreadsheet application and presentation tool.  Where required, the suite can be expanded to include a database, project management tool and publishing tool.   The trouble is that these feature rich applications come with a hefty price tag along with a hefty resource commitment – both in memory and user interface code.  However, there have not been many viable alternatives.

In the past, business productivity applications available via the web were limited both in feature set and web capabilities.  However, with the growth of web programmability and the open-source software movement, these limitations have been lifted.  Google Docs, Zoho and now, Microsoft Web Applications 2010, provide a rich productivity feature set with usability and performance over the web which includes the required word processing, spreadsheet and presentation capabilities.   However, Zoho stands out by providing many more useful business applications.

Zoho Home Page

With over 20 applications, Zoho goes much further and provides business applications not normally found in office productivity suites.  Included are a project management tool, customer relationship management (CRM) solution, web conferencing tool, invoicing tool and database.  Interestingly, even a human resource component is available.  The most significant feature – most applications are free!  Zoho, with its comprehensive set of productivity/collaborative tools and business applications is definitely the leader in on-line business productivity applications.

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About Susan
I'm a wife, mother and student living in the suburbs of Atlanta. After 20 years in corporate IT, I am currently working for a non-profit as Director of Operations.

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