November 7, 2009
A new player has entered the Intranet and collaboration space. OfficeMedium aims to help small businesses with their team business and communication needs.The "office wars" are certainly heating up as of late. Microsoft called office-suite provider Zoho "fake" last week. Zoho countered by creating an entire site -- FakeOffice.org.
NY-based OfficeMedium launched last month focused on the Intranet and group collaboration market. It's interesting to see that the service is powered by the Drupal CMS. The service offers task/event management, project status updates, file sharing and storage and contact management. In my testing I found the service functioned as intended. Compared with some other Drupal projects, OfficeMedium is very smooth in handling content. Dennis Howlett reviewed OfficeMedium and took a look at the available user roles within the OfficeMedium service. Dennis notes that to keep the software secure, there are three available roles: clients are very limited with what they can create or view while employees and super users can gain additional creation permissions. The key for OfficeMedium (and the other collaboration services) is to realize that today customers are everywhere and want to interact in different ways. This is a big change from the ASP providers of the late 90s. Some customers will be ok with entering data inside of the OfficeMedium service. Others may want all updates via email, mobile device or SMS and want to reply/create content in the same fashion. Many collaboration tools are now sending and receiving notices via social networks including Facebook and Twitter. OfficeMedium charges $6 per user per month along with a $1 per gig of storage per month. I agree with Dennis when he notes that a variable charge per type of user would make more sense. Some clients may only access the service while employees and super users will use the system more heavily. Perhaps a simple bundle option would make it easier for budgeting purposes. The online office market will continue to grow in 2010. As the major players (Microsoft, Google, Zoho) continue to invest in their online office products, more small businesses will become comfortable with using an online office suite. This increased comfort level should help companies like OfficeMedium potentially reach a larger market.
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