Top 5 business cloud app suites and cloud collaboration services

Sander van Vugt

As more users turn to the cloud for word processing, spreadsheet and presentation software, the enterprise may want to look to business cloud collaboration tools. Every business cloud app suite offers something different, so it’s up to IT pros to decide which service is right for their organization.

These cloud productivity applications may be attractive to IT because they require less maintenance than in-house software. The fact that these business cloud app services are hosted externally also means that organizations can benefit from higher availability.

Microsoft Office 365

The Microsoft Office suite is the de facto enterprise standard for on-premise productivity applications. Now, Microsoft Office is also available as a business cloud app suite, under the name Microsoft Office 365. Office 365 provides online versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote, along with Web-based email, a chat platform, voicemail, video conferencing and SharePoint. The different enterprise versions of Office 365 range from a $4-per-month service with email and Active Directory integration to a $20-per-month option that lets admins install Office on up to five computers per each registered user.

Google Apps for Business

Google Apps for Business is a business cloud app version of Google’s free, online productivity services, such as Gmail and Google Docs. Google Apps integrates well with mobile devices, such as Android tablets and the Apple iPad, and it offers advanced options for IT to manage users in large organizations. One of these is automated integration with the Lightweight Directory Access Protocol, which makes it easy to import users from the corporate directory service into Google Apps.

Zoho

Zoho is different from other cloud productivity providers because it offers customer relationship management and enterprise resource planning tools, in addition to email and Office-like applications called Writer and Planner Sheet. Zoho’s business cloud collaboration offerings also include Zoho Creator, with which IT can build its own apps, and Zoho Invoice.

Adobe online services

More on business cloud app options

Leveraging mobile cloud apps in the enterprise

Enterprise cloud file-sharing apps give IT more control over data

Well known for its PDF tools, Adobe also offers online document exchange and business cloud collaboration services such as Echosign, a tool to sign contracts online. FormsCentral allows users to easily create Web forms. And for a more complete business cloud app platform, Adobe’s Acrobat.com offers online document sharing, meeting software and file storage.

HyperOffice

HyperOffice is an online business cloud collaboration and document management service that offers email, calendars, contact management and more. It can also push email, contacts, calendar and tasks to most mobile devices, which makes it easy to integrate HyperOffice in the modern business environment.

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