An online office suite or online productivity suite is a type of office suite offered by websites in the form of software as a service. They can be accessed online from any Internet-enabled device running any operating system. This allows people to work together worldwide and at any time, thereby leading to international web-based collaboration and virtual teamwork. Usually, the basic versions are offered for free and for more advanced versions one is required to pay a nominal subscription fee.
Applications are often developed on the Web 2.0 paradigms with leverage on the existing developer community. Players come from both the commercial software market and from the open source, free software communities.
The term Office 2.0
, which is sometimes used to refer to online office suites
, originated with Ismael Ghalimi in an experimental effort to test whether he could perform all of his computer based work in online applications. It is a marketing neologism representing the concepts of office productivity applications as published applications rather than stand-alone programs, leveraging the Web 2.0
concept to conjure imagery of collaborative, community based and centralised effort rather than the more traditional application running on a platform locally. It is also the focus of the annual Office 2.0 Conference
Examples of where the term may apply include:
- The centralized administration of office productivity software, installation, licensing and version control;
- Collaborative applications which improve personal and organizational productivity ;
- Centralized storage of data, rather than traditional personal data responsibility;
- Applications which focus on collaborative data sharing, document review and document resource management;
- Office applications which are able to be run from multiple independent platforms with a suitable back-end framework to present the application in a uniform manner.
The cost is low (in some cases : free )
No software is required to be downloaded and installed. No upgrading hassles when new features are added or bugs eliminated.
They can run out of thin clients with minimal hardware requirements.
They also provide the ability to share a document with several users without your own server.
No need to purchase or upgrade a software license. Instead these are available as software as a service
They are portable. You can access your documents from almost any computer with a broadband connection.
If your computer crashes, your documents are still safe on the server.
- Data security — All your data resides on a remote server which can disappear without warning: however, a back up can be taken regularly.
- Speed — Most of the currently available online office suites require a high speed (broadband) Internet connection.
- Lack some features available on the offline office suites
- A network connection (usually Internet access) is required to send and receive changes. That is, internet dependence makes it more difficult to work offline.
- Ongoing subscription cost may make it more expensive than purchased software in the long run.
As with most marketing neologisms which later become accepted public trends, technologists contend that these technologies have existed for some time, particularly in the form of Microsoft Terminal Services based applications and Citrix XenApp published application frameworks. The term itself is likely to only be used as a reference to a group of selling points.
There are also questions as to how businesses will be affected by storing all of their documents in online environments. Currently, the search and seizures provisions offered by the Fourth Amendment do not apply to online service providers storing third-party data.
An online office suite normally includes a broad set of the following applications:
Document creation and editing applications