Everyone wants things quicker than the day before. Solutions, Inc. is actually the fourth company I have started and grown. After experiencing issues in the other three, I knew that I had to learn everything I could about different systems that could help a business run more effectively. After much research, and chats with different people using these various systems, I realized that Web-based systems were the way to go. I came to this conclusion from two paths: The first was that I found from speaking with others that it’s much cheaper in the long run to use Web-based systems. The second was that I wanted to hire and work with people throughout the world. I wasn’t going to maintain some massive server in my home office for everyone. I’d rather the systems I purchased cover that cost.
Collaboration is critical for success in today’s marketplace. There are many businesses that are being run by one person, but chances are that even that one person has a team of vendors or contractors who are helping with business functions such as marketing, fulfillment, accounting, and general administrative support. Even the Fortune 500 companies use independent contractors or consultants and, more often than not, the contractors work off the business’s premises. This poses a data-sharing issue as well as a potential delay in getting and sharing the information. With Web 3.0, everyday, every hour, counts in terms of your competitiveness and performance.
Web-based applications can help you effectively manage all of your team members (internal and external), as well as increase your speed to market.
There are hundreds of ways teams can collaborate, but I’ve zeroed in on the most important the ones that will make the biggest difference to your speed and competitive edge:
- Sharing docs, files, audios, videos
- Project management
- Shopping-cart system
- E-mail management
- Customer relationship management
One great way to achieve these methods of collaboration is Google Apps. Google Apps is a collection of tools designed and hosted by Google. Google Apps started off with Google Mail and has expanded drastically from there. For $50 a year (at this writing) you get the following
- E-mail accounts
- Google Docs (docs, spreadsheets, forms, and presentations)
- Chatting capabilities (voice and text)
- Mini portal sites
- Contact management
- Customizable home page (iGoogle)
- Picasa (photo sharing)
- And much more (check out www.google.com/apps)