Enterprise Software

Review: Group Office groupware suite

Group Office solves your business communication needs with an amalgamation of groupware and CRM tools.

If you are in need of a groupware suite, but do not have the in-house IT staff set it up and maintain it, the best option is a hosted groupware suit. There are a number of available options, each of which offers different tools to set them apart from the others. One of those suites is Group Office, which offers some very handy features that will appeal to many departments within your company. And not only does Group Office work as a hosted environment, it also offers built-in support and cost-effective pricing.

Specifications

Who's it for?

Group Office is a solid entry in the group ware space that will suit just about any office need. From standard group ware tools (Calendar, Contacts, Notes, Email) to CRM-like tools (such as billing and time tracking) Group Office is more than just your average Gmail account. This tool will fit the bill for any SMB needing an out-sourced solution.

What problem does it solve?

Group Office solves your business communication needs with an amalgamation of groupware and CRM tools. Your company will be able to schedule meetings, create contacts, track projects, and bill clients all from one easy to use tool.

Standout features

  • No installation necessary
  • Solid hosting
  • Email
  • Contacts
  • Calendar
  • Notes
  • Billing
  • Files
  • Time tracking
  • Tasks
  • Outlook and PDA syncing

What's wrong?

The biggest issue some will have is determining if the pricing is worth the features Group Office has in beyond a standard Gmail account. If Group Office offered a document system (complete with word processing and spreadsheets) it would be a much easier decision to make. As it stands, most businesses will want to take advantage of the 30 day free trial before they make up their minds.

Competitive Products

Bottom line for business

If you need a hosted group ware solution, and are not concerned with document collaboration, Group Office is a solid entry in this arena. But if you're looking for less CRM and more collaboration, you better look to the competition. Without document collaboration, Group Office might fall short in the eyes of many SMBs.

User rating

Have you encountered or used Group Office? If so, what do you think? Rate your experience and compare the results to what other TechRepublic members think. Give your own personal review in the TechRepublic Community Forums or let us know if you think we left anything out in our review.

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About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

3 comments
dmittleman
dmittleman

the competitive products listed against group office aren't really the right set of products. There are several dozen team officing environments listed in wikipedia. Among the robust alternatives are: Commercial tools - hyperoffice - weboffice - zoho.com (suite of tools more extensive than google) - zimbra (available hosted or server - also has an opensource option I think) And this just taps the surface Open Source tools include - officezilla.com (and officezilla.net if you want to serve your own) - grou.ps (which has some social networking capabilities as well) One more major thing, Jack: Your "what's wrong" doesn't make any sense. Why suggest Group Office would differentiate itself from gmail if it had document authoring when gmail is essentially bundled with google docs? It seems to me that billing, time tracking, and task management is much more of a differentiator (though zoho office has all of these).

T.Walpole
T.Walpole

Group Office is very easy to set up and deploy and is one of the best open source groupware products I've seen. The biggest deficiency I found with Group Office was the difficulty of importing contact data into it. While I managed to find a way to import data, it was quite tedious and with less than perfect results. The process was far beyond the average user's skill level, I suspect.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

What applications does your organization use to help people collaborate and share ideas?

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