Cloud - internet applications in business, part 1. Office applications

Service Business

In the era of cloud computing, the concept of software and the ways we use it has changed significantly. Until recently, the use of software was usually associated with the need to install it from a carrier, e.g. a floppy disk, CD or USB flash drive on a computer. Currently, thanks to the invention of cloud computing, remote access to the application is possible. It is similar to the process of renting a car - we do it when and when we need it.

Thanks to this approach, there is no need to purchase a software license. Renting it is more economical and reduces operating costs, because we do not buy a license on a permanent basis, but only use it on an ad hoc basis. Another benefit of this solution is that you do not have to update your company's computers. The solution in the cloud allows not only to remotely rent the software, but also to remotely rent the appropriate computing power. So what is the payment model in this type of solution? Very flexible, we only pay for what we actually use. This is one of the basic features of cloud computing, thanks to which solutions based on this technology are gaining more and more users.

Another important feature of cloud computing is its service nature, in this respect there is the concept of SaaS - Software as a Service. In the service model, we can use a wide range of software: from CRM to dedicated systems, e.g. on-line accounting, as well as office applications. It is the office applications such as a word processor or a spreadsheet that are the most common types of business software. Who doesn't use us or hasn't used Word or Excel in the past?

Office and office applications in the cloud are the future

Office solutions and office applications based on the cloud are an absolute future for software applications in small and medium-sized companies, but also in corporations and individual applications. This model has a number of advantages such as: standardization, flexibility, adaptation to the recipient's needs, speed and simplicity of implementation, access at any place and time. And what should be emphasized, it offers a number of savings compared to traditional solutions, primarily in terms of reducing implementation costs, but also in operation and maintenance.

The picture of the office package market has been formed for years. Although many have already tried, Microsoft still remains at the forefront of the office application market with the Office suite. On the other hand, there is software distributed under the terms of GLP licenses, free or limited to business customers, such as OpenOffice ( or LibreOffice ( . There are many more examples of office software licensed under the GLPL license. The advent of the cloud has undermined Microsoft's foundation as an industry leader. First, Google, then Zoho (a company less known in Poland) presented their software versions in the SaaS online model, available via a web browser.

According to Gatner's research, MS Office still remains the main player in the market in terms of the number of users of office packages and its share is estimated at 80% to 96%. The indications do not include the growing importance of the SaaS model and the growing role of Microsoft's competition from Google and Zoho. According to Gartner, in 2013, 50 million of the 630 million users of the office suite (8%) chose a solution based on cloud services. By 2022, 695 million of the 1.2 billion users of office suites (i.e. 58%) will create and edit documents in the cloud. Google plays a large role, whose set of office applications Google Apps has significantly increased its share since 2007, when it was estimated at 10% to 50% in 2012. It should also be added that Google has assessed the needs of the recipients and offered the recipients a solution that meets their business needs. When analyzing office suites in the SaaS model, several important features that characterize them can be distinguished:

  • Standardization. In the era of the development of trends such as BYOD (Bring On You Own Devices), IT departments must provide support for office applications on multiple hardware platforms, from PCs to mobile devices. Let us add that the BYOD idea, which is becoming more and more popular, mainly among corporations, but also small and medium-sized companies, is part of the strategy of using software everywhere where wireless Internet coverage is possible.
  • Savings. Office applications in the cloud save money. Fees for their use are charged on a flat-rate basis and on a monthly basis.
  • Simplicity of implementation. What is characteristic of this process here is that, from a practical point of view, nothing needs to be installed. System supervisors create remote user accounts in minutes. Group and team work in online packages take on a completely new dimension, which is their strongest point.What is this process about? Multiple people can work on the same document at the same time, with full control over the order of the document version and changes made to it. So, looking at this process from the so-called teleworking and mobile access to documents, the SaaS model is designed for such activities. It is simply enough to have a device equipped with a browser with Internet access. It should be noted, however, that in the case of mobile devices, the appearance of the user interface still leaves a lot to be desired. In other words, the same text editor on the tablet and smartphone will look a bit different due to the specificity of the device and technical limitations.

Office applications in the cloud - similarities and differences

The basis of each office suite is its trio: word processor, spreadsheet and presentation software. This is the core of the basic version of Google Docs, also Microsoft offers its version of Office in the online model, available at It should be mentioned that the office application packages are equipped with functions that are to make working with them more efficient and more attractive - for example messaging systems and e-mail. Office applications in the Google Apps package include well-known and popular Gmail. Microsoft provides the Outlook e-mail program and the Lync messenger for instant messaging and instant messaging. In addition, the office sets include specialized programs for creating and managing contacts and calendars.

Sometimes they offer quite unique features, eg Microsoft introduced a new quality some time ago with the OneNote tool, which remains one of the best note-taking software. Its advantages will be best appreciated by tablet users. Your handwritten notes can then be transcribed into normal text. An interesting function in the field of project management is offered by the Zoho package ( - Zoho Project, which competes functionally with Microsoft's SharePoint. One important aspect of the office application suites is the compatibility available when opening and saving documents created in competing solutions. For example, Google Apps offers compatibility with the DOCX format. You should also not forget about language issues, but here all the three mentioned office suites Microsoft Office, Google Apps or Zoho Office offer a Polish user interface.

What is the future of online office applications?

The most important challenge for online office packages manufacturers is to ensure compatibility with a growing number of mobile devices. The challenge is quite complex as it requires making the appearance consistent on all available mobile devices, but not only. The goal of software developers in the cloud, not only the office one, is to provide the perfect pattern in which all office applications will look and work the same on all devices. For example, a document in PowerPoint should look the same on an iPhone, laptop or desktop. The file itself is supposed to load into the device at a similar speed and provide the same editing functions. However, this is the song of the future and it is still far from ideal.

Since it is difficult to find an ideal, the cloud as a solution has its specific disadvantages. One of them is the latency resulting from sending data, including the entire view of the application (interface), over the Internet. Depending on the place of connection, the speed of the link and its type, e.g. GSM or landline connections, delays in remote work may be smaller or greater. Therefore, local solutions, i.e. installation directly on the device, will always have an advantage over solutions in the cloud.

When it comes to office applications, the issue of remote document storage will remain a very sensitive issue for many users. It is a topic that arouses considerable controversy among many recipients, especially business ones. Data security issues respect the indiscriminate use of online solutions. However, many companies do not realize that the currently used security measures against unauthorized access to data are at a very high level, and the best providers on the market offer security at a level unattainable for many smaller enterprises. Thus, you should not be afraid of storing information in the cloud, but rather choose a suitably reliable solution provider.