If you are looking for an enterprise SaaS approach to CRM, sales, accounting, projects, purchasing and inventory you should consider taking a close look at myERP.com. This could be an easy and very inexpensive transition to the cloud for a small construction company or one-person shop. But then again, for just $29 a month any business can have unlimited users on the system.
The reviews are overall very positive. There was some concern by a few reviewers about the privacy of the data someone might store on the company’s servers, but the response from the company seemed to supply some more accurate information, and clear up some misinformation.
Provide a name, email address, company name, account name and then select your type of business from a drop down list of three-General Business, Professional Services or Distribution & Wholesale. Hit the Sign-Up button and you’re on your way.
Google Apps is an interesting offering because its a low-cost way to put your collaboration and communications online and get away from the costs and time you might spend managing those functions with on-premise software. Google claims a leading research firm found Google Apps to cost only a third of what competing offerings might cost.
Besides a very generous 25 GB of email storage per user, mobile access using popular devices and a 99.9 percent uptime guarantee, you get a slew of security functions that you can customize. There’s also a wide range of admin and data controls. For example, you can use a provisioning utility and connect your user directory system to Google Apps, saving a lot of time in setup. Also very handy is the fact that you can have single-sign-on, so people can access all areas of Google without having to sign on multiple times. The cost for business use is $50 per user, per year.
Another simple step into the cloud is Google Docs. On the word processing application there’s no helvetica and only 17 typefaces available. Points go up to 72. The editing interface is like a typical blog interface with bold, italic, underline, text color, background color, link, add picture and the formatting options related to bullets and numbering, spacing and alignment.
Using the other applications included in Google Docs you can create spreadsheets, presentations, forms and drawings. There are thousands of templates you can search and choose from so you don’t have to create everything from scratch. Having to weed through so many though might make it more efficient to just create the document you need if those needs are fairly simple.
To share, you can download the document in these formats: ODT, PDF, RTF, TXT, Word, HTML. Send your creation to print preview, and then print it using the printer attached to your local computer. Another option is to mark the file for sharing so when others are logged in to Google Docs they can see it and even interact with it.
Of course, if you have poor Internet service that is slow, erratic, or both, then owning the software will be a better idea. For everybody else who just needs to create basic content and documents, Google Docs offers a simpler and cheaper method.
In theory, a small construction shop could blend these three offerings to cover most of their business software needs. Larger shops could use them to handle special projects or those times when they need an immediately scalable collaboration or content creation platform that anybody with an ounce of computing skill could use effectively.