Online Software Coming of Age

Over the years ReachFarther has worked with several subscription-based ASP-model software products on the Internet.  Some were clunky, some were useful, but all of them were “new” since the entire concept was just gaining traction.  The newness meant that many of them needed a really long “production BETA” cycle where the technology and the UI were improved to make them serious threats to their desktop counterparts.   However, the fact that they were hosted online and could be accessed by multiple people simultaneously always gave them a unique advantage over similar traditional software packages.

We’ve played with some online rivals to traditional desktop applications like Google Docs which provides an online “office suite”.  While the concept is pretty cool, even with Google’s endless resources the product is currently a distant second, third, or fourth to the current Microsoft Office suite.  Coupled with some of Microsoft’s server-based productivity tools that extend the functionality of their office suite, Google has a long way to go before they make our shop a true believer.  However, over the past year we’ve locked in on two applications without which we’d seemingly be lost these days.

Basecamp – This one goes by several names but this is how we know it. It’s published by 37Signals and has now become our go-to project management utility.  Through their website we can share project documents, communicate with our clients and vendors, manage project timelines, and generally store all project related materials in a single repository.  The clarity of communication it provides is vital to the success of our projects and has helped us meet several very aggressive deadlines.   I have a feeling that several of our clients would sing it’s praises as well.  And most importantly, it’s extremely affordable.

GoToMeeting – Wow, that’s all I have to say.  We’ve been getting cold-calls for years by some of their competitors and we never bit.  But we tried this product a few months ago and I’m not sure how we ever lived without it.   Well, I know how we lived without it; we stumbled through meetings and conference calls without ever being sure everyone was seeing or hearing the same thing. 

GoToMeeting is an online meeting utility that allows us to share our desktop with anyone attending the meeting, anywhere in the world.  They also have a great conference call service that’s offered at no additional charge each month.  This service is so incredibly affordable that it should be a must-have for any business, anywhere

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