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Written by Gaurav Bhola, MSM on August 26, 2008
The most important part of business is how you run it, effective efficiency is the key. An efficient business is a reflection of a disciplined and focused business. I want to provide some productivity business software and other tools that can help your business be more efficient. When you are starting a business, the goal is to keep the overhead low; hence, all the business tools mentioned are accessible to you at no cost. The following are open-source software meaning they are free.
Office Productivity Suites
Contains a complete suite comparable to Microsoft Office, includes Writer (word processor), Impress (presentation program), Base (database program), Calc (spreadsheet), Draw (graphics editor), and Math (mathematical formula editor). Can save files in multiple formats, including Microsoft, allowing you to view/edit Open Office files in Microsoft suites. OpenOffice.org has been gaining popularity across businesses, organizations, and consumers. Can also export files as PDF.
Contains Documents (word processor), Spreadsheets (spreadsheet) and Presentations (PowerPoint alternative). Symphony supports the Microsoft Office, OpenDocument format (ODF), and Lotus SmartSuite formats. Can export files as Portable Document Format (PDF) files.
GNOME Office (GO)
Has AbiWord (word processor), GNOME-DB (database), and Gnumeric (spreadsheet).
NeoOffice is a comprehensively featured set of office applications, including word processing, presentation, spreadsheet, database, and drawing programs for Apple Mac OS X. It is based on the OpenOffice.org office suite.
Web-based Online Office Applications or Suites
Zoho Office Suite
Zoho Office Suite is fast becoming the ONLY web office suite to use. It is amazing the offerings they have for the businesses and consumers alike. Here is a list of some of the tools they offer:
• Zoho Writer - Word Processor
• Zoho Sheet – Spreadsheets
• Zoho Show – Presentation
• Zoho Creator - Database Application
• Zoho Notebook - Note Taker
• Zoho Wiki - full-featured Wiki
• Zoho Planner – Organizer
• Zoho Chat - Group Decisions Faster
• Zoho Start – Documents
• Zoho Mail - Web-based Email Service
• Zoho Projects - Project Management Software
• Zoho CRM - On-Demand CRM Solution
• Zoho Invoice - Invoicing. Quick and Easy
• Zoho Meeting - Web Conferencing
• Zoho DB & Reports - Reporting & BI Service
• Zoho People - People & Recruitment Management
• Zoho Business - Business Solutions
The data files may be saved on Zoho’s servers as well as Zoho partner sites and allows for synchronization back to the local PC. Integration plugins are available for Microsoft Word and Excel, browser plugin allows you to open text documents or spreadsheets without the need for installed word processing or spreadsheet applications, and desktop widget offers the flexibility to run Zoho products on your desktops just like traditional office programs. Mobile Zoho Sheet, Writer, and Show are available at iZoho. iZoho is available for the iPhone and Facebook.
ThinkFree Online consists of a Write (word processor), Calc (spreadsheet), and Show (presentation program). ThinkFree Office supports Microsoft Office file formats (.doc, .xls, and .ppt). It also has a collaboration/project management program called Workspace.
Google’s famous Web-based spreadsheet, word processor, spreadsheet, and presentation applications. You can collaborate in real-time with people to create and edit documents.
Alternatives for Microsoft Outlook (PIM)
Novell Evolution (Windows version)
A personal information manager (PIM) and workgroup information management (WIM) tool which combines e-mail, address book, calendar, and task list management functions. Evolution’s user interface and functionality are quite similar to Microsoft Outlook, but offer support of iCalendar, full-text indexing of all incoming mail, a “Search Folders,” email filters writable in Scheme, Ximian Connector to connect to the Microsoft Exchange Server using a web interface, and you can synchronize with Palm Pilot , mobiles phones, and PDAs.
Alternative to Microsoft Project
The most popular project management tool, OpenProj is a complete desktop replacement for Microsoft Project, it supports existing native Project files.
dotProject is a web-based, multi-language, multi-user Project Management application. Its management functions include Projects and Tasks, Departments and Contacts, Companies, To Do lists, and Resources (equipment, rooms, and more).
Alternative Microsoft Publisher
Scribus is a desktop publishing application that has broad page layout features comparable to Adobe PageMaker. Also you can create interactive and animated PDF presentations and forms.