On the heels of my previous post about SaaS not being a magic tonic to cure all of small business’s tech woes, I made a discovery today. Microsoft is about to unveil Office Live Workspace which I think will be a boon to small businesses everywhere. If you’ve ever needed to share a document and not know how to do it, then here’s a free service for you.
Office Live Workspace promises to provide a place where you can share 1000 or so Microsoft Office documents in a single place for free; it’s 500 MB of storage with a limit of 25MB per file. You can upload documents, provide access to other people and control their privileges (whether they can view, comment, or edit), and save multiple versions of the same document. Anyone with a web browser can participate, or you can save directly from Word, Excel, and Powerpoint. You can synchronize contact, task, and event lists with Outlook.
For heavy editing tasks you would still need to run Microsoft Office, but who doesn’t?
This service would alleviate the need to run a file server just to share documents. Now that’s a good way to save money. Your business would save on the cost of the server, the server software, and the expertise required to install and maintain the server. The best case might be that you start off small and use the Office Live Workspace to connect a few employees. Over time you would want more storage and more features, and then you could pull your documents off of Office Live Workspace and onto a local (or hosted) file server.
They’re not setting up the workspaces yet, but you can pre-register and they will notify you when your workspace is ready.