Zoho recently made a very strategic move by launching Zoho Office for SharePoint because of SharePoint’s growing dominance in the enterprise. It seems everybody I am speaking to about potential projects these days is using Microsoft Office SharePoint Services 2007 for secure document collaboration inside their firewall.
Zoho Office for SharePoint is a great vehicle for Zoho to complement existing SharePoint implementations and offers the following:
- A potential economic savings over Microsoft Office seat licensing.
- A new document collaboration model over the traditional Microsoft Office/SharePoint, one user checks a document out and works on it and must check it back into the document library before another user could access the document. Zoho Office for SharePoint enables multiple users to work on a document in real-time.
- Corporate data stay inside your corporate firewall on a SharePoint site versus in the cloud on a third-party server.
- Zoho Office for SharePoint maintains a small footprint on your organization’s SharePoint servers.
- Web browser access to SharePoint data opening up the potential of accessing your organization’s SharePoint data across multiple devices.
While I’ve yet to test out Zoho Office for SharePoint personally, I am especially intrigued about this move from Zoho because they aren’t trying to face off with SharePoint but rather show how their Web office technologies can complement the SharePoint platform. It will be interesting to see if this move helps Zoho gain some enterprise wins for their Zoho Office product.
With their focus on complementing SharePoint, Zoho Office for SharePoint touts an attention to document editing including:
- Right-click access to existing document residing in SharePoint site document libraries.
- Creating new documents in Zoho Office for SharePoint automatically saves those documents in a Microsoft Office document format.
- Editing documents with Zoho Office for SharePoint does not change the original file format.
However, one point of contention with Zoho Office for SharePoint is that when you open a document it temporarily resides on a Zoho server outside of the firewall. While Zoho transmits the document securely some security conscious organizations might be wary.
The introduction of Zoho Office for SharePoint also opens another front between Zoho Web Office technologies and Microsoft Office because organizations relying on SharePoint are now not completely dependent on Microsoft Office for their end users. For example, a small to medium business could reap some savings by being more judicious as to how they handle their Microsoft Office licensing. Zoho Office for SharePoint pricing is available by monthly or yearly subscriptions. A free thirty day trial is also available.
Hopefully, the launch of Zoho Office for SharePoint should lead to some interesting SharePoint and third-party Web Office tool integrations.