HyperOffice: Your PC online

* HyperOffice integrates online and the PC desktop

Many of the attempts to provide an office environment through Web services have missed a crucial issue: Most business people already have a PC and most run Microsoft Office. This means that compatibility with Microsoft documents and file formats is important, and more than anything else, integration with Microsoft Outlook is critical.

If that sounds like your list of requirements, you might want to take a look at HyperOffice, a cost-effective hosted intranet office solution that includes Outlook integration.

HyperOffice features include:

* Web-based e-mail with auto-replies and autoforwarding.

* Document management with online storage, versioning, user rights and workflow, along with PC desktop-based Web folders (you can use the Web folders to move documents between HyperOffice storage and your PC).

* An online calendar with e-mail alerts and scheduling of other users in your group.

* Contact management (contacts can also be shared within your group).

* Task lists.

* Discussion groups with archiving and search.

* Opinion polls.

* Announcements.

* Outlook synchronization (what I see as the big feature).

HyperOffice's Outlook synchronization supports importing all of a user's calendar of events, contacts and tasks in their copy of Outlook, and then provides continuous synchronization!

A neat feature that the company highlights is being able to create a customer portal (didn't we used to call that an extranet?) because the subscriber rights management allows the creation of accounts with a suitable set of access privileges. See HyperOffice's interactive "Compare and Save" model for a useful feature comparison.

The HyperOffice interface is supported by Internet Explorer, Firefox, Netscape and Safari, as well as most other current Web browsers.

Priced from as low as $14.95 per month for two users with 200M bytes of storage, HyperOffice looks like one of the more flexible solutions for consistently integrating your PC desktop with an online service.

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