Online tools let you get going fast and pay as you go, two factors that appeal especially to SMBs. From productivity to analytics, these 10 apps deserve your attention.
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When you hear "Microsoft Office," you likely think along the lines of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. So now that Microsoft has launched Office 365, a core piece of its cloud strategy, it might be easy to mistake the suite simply as online versions of the traditional desktop software. True, Office 365 includes Web Apps--lite versions of Microsoft's ubiquitous productivity applications. (The pricier enterprise plans include Office Professional Plus, the full cloud counterpart of the standard Office suite.) But where SMBs--especially those operating across multiple locations or looking to get out of the server maintenance game--might find more appeal is the with collaboration and communications pieces. Namely, the new online versions of Exchange, SharePoint, and Lync. If you kick Office 365's tires, be sure to compare the widely advertised $6/user/month plan aimed at small businesses and the more robust--and more expensive--packages intended for midsize firms and large companies. Regardless of your company size, it may turn out that one of the enterprise tiers is a better match for your needs.