KnowledgeTree Upgrades Cloud-Based Document Management Platform

Microsoft Office integration, real-time collaboration, unlimited users, and other features target SMBs in vertical markets with needs unfulfilled by Google Apps.
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Chalef doesn't see Office 365 as a competitor, per se, and said he doesn't believe Microsoft has plans to integrate business process tools -- like those that KnowledgeTree offers -- into its new cloud service. But as the battle between Google and Microsoft wages on, it seems likely that the latter will become a competitor by default.

"We provide a far richer experience than the base Office 365 suite," Chalef said. He added that KnowledgeTree's new integration also supports Office 2007 and 2003.

KnowledgeTree said it serves the small and midsize business market -- with an emphasis on the latter -- and that's true to an extent. Its new pricing plans begin at $35 and go up from there. Because KnowledgeTree now offers unlimited licenses with its plans, it may make particular sense in terms of total cost of ownership for mid-market companies when compared with per-user pricing options. Google Apps charges $50 per user, per year, for example.

But some of KnowledgeTree's key features, such as access control, document alerts, and custom workflows, are reserved for customers with slightly deeper pockets, and the wide range in pricing seem to indicate KnowledgeTree is targeting a similarly wide range of business sizes. KnowledgeTree touts its "Company" plan, which includes those features just mentioned for $475 per month, as its most popular option. Its "Enterprise" package, which includes phone support, a service-level agreement (SLA), custom domain, and offline backups, requires a phone call for pricing.

Chalef pointed out that the distinction between the needs of small and large companies -- and everything in between -- can be blurry, especially in certain industries. When it comes to matters of compliance, for example, smaller companies can have the exact same requirements and challenges as larger companies. To that point, Chalef added that KnowledgeTree has customers with a wide range of budgets, from those that spend just under $200 a month on the "Team" plan to companies that spend tens of thousands of dollars on implementation alone.

Said Chalef: "There are departments within [Forbes] Global 2000 companies that look and smell like SMBs."

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