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10/29/2010
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HyperOffice Adds Cloud Collaboration Tools For SMBs

Integrated project management tools augment the vendor's web-based document collaboration, email, shared calendars and other collaboration apps.

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One company using HyperOffice's task and project management tools is San Francisco-based architecture firm DNM Architect. "We use HyperOffice's shared tasks to assign work and keep track of activities of employees and independent contractors," said company owner David Marlatt. "Task dependencies are a huge enhancement because my 'to-do' lists are now an automated and interactive project management tool for the entire team. I can set up projects and tasks of any duration, and anyone in my group can be informed when their task is due or when another task is complete and theirs can begin."

Also, noted Marlatt, "I love the interactive Gantt charts, because they really speed up setting up and managing my projects. Now, I can just drag and drop to get activities in the right order and drag the task bar to adjust the schedule."

Do SMBs need project management? "It depends on your business," commented Laurie McCabe, a partner in analyst firm SMB Group. "If you have activities that aren't cookie-cutter in terms of tasks, or with varying people on the different projects, project management tools like these are applicable. We're seeing a lot of great solutions. People are realizing that emailing things around all the time, and using spreadsheets to organize, isn't very productive for project collaboration and management"

For SMBs, the combination of cloud access for IT simplicity and affordability, and remote access, and mobile devices for flexibility, matters. The cloud approach is good for working with groups not all in the same office, and McCabe notes, "Small businesses don't want IT infrastructure if they can avoid it."

McCabe's advice: "You should try and compare two or three project management tools. Many offer free trials, or you can subscribe for a month or two and try a small project. You'll quickly see what feels like the right answer for your company's needs, without having had to buy hardware or install and uninstall -- there's very low risk. If your business is project oriented, you're likely to see the advantages, as a boon to productivity."

HyperOffice's new project management tools are available now, at no additional cost. The price depends on the number of users. For example, according to Kaviani, a 25-user plan without email would run about $8 per user per month.

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