Collaborating with other members of your team to create and modify documents is a common business need. But what's the best way to handle this task? A new online document collaboration service called HyLighter lets you use color coding to highlight annotations, which the service tracks separately from the original document.
Products designed to address the needs of people who collaborate on documents have been around for awhile. One familiar example is Microsoft Word's Track Changes capability; introduced several years ago, this feature lets users  mark up a Word document with comments and suggested changes that other collaborators can accept or reject.
Many well-known Web services provide highly flexible document collaboration options, including access to shared documents. Microsoft Office Live and WebEx WebOffice, for example, let you upload documents to a private online site for sharing, reviewing, and modifying. Basecamp provides an online Writeboard for document collaboration, as well as simple project management services.
How does your business handle general and sales query e-mail? In many organizations these messages go to a shared e-mail account, such as firstname.lastname@example.org. Answering them may be the responsibility of any one of several company reps.
But how do you ensure that your company promptly handles all queries sent to a shared e-mail address? In today's fast-paced business world, letting an e-mail sit too long unanswered can spell the difference between winning a sales order and losing it. And how do you prevent multiple employees from wasting their time (and giving the customer a bad impression of your business's processes) by answering the same query?
Email Center Pro (ECP) can help. It's a new Web-based service for sharing e-mail messages among coworkers, who may add comments to messages and use templates or collaborate to produce timely responses.
If you need this mix of features, you can check out JuggleMyStuff at no cost--but the free plan's capacity is too limited for most businesses. Paid plans offering greater capacity range in price from $5 to $139 per month.
A legal agreement may be the start of something wonderful in a business. But keeping track of all the details in a large number of contracts can be a record-keeping nightmare.
A new service called Mumboe takes legal documents out of dusty file cabinets and puts them into a secure and searchable online database. It can help a business create and track both its legal agreements and any deadlines or other key information related to them.
Mumboe is a Web-based alternative to desktop software for document management, such as Docsvault. Other online services, such as Microsoft Office Live Small Business, make it possible to store and track documents. Mumboe, though, is particularly suited to managing a raft of legal agreements since it also tracks related tasks and data that can be important, such as a contract's expiration date.
Should you use a specialized--and pricey--online search engine to help you track what bloggers say about your products and services?
Online opinion makers are more important to business success then ever before. Blog buzz is today's digital equivalent of word-of-mouth that can make or break a new product.
How can a business determine if opinions expressed online are positive and will aid marketing efforts or are negative and may damage both reputation and sales? RelevantNoise from Zeta Interactive offers an interesting solution. It's a subscription-based online search service that mines social media for business intelligence.
Microsoft's desire for a larger chunk of the growing online advertising market is driving the software giant's takeover bid for Yahoo. Online advertising in the United States could more than double from last year to 2011, according to the Yankee Group.
Acquiring Yahoo would vault Microsoft into second in the search engine business, behind only Google. A combined Microsoft-Yahoo would deliver far more search queries sprinkled with lucrative pay-per-click (PPC) advertisements, a major component of online advertising. It's no wonder Google is concerned about the threat that Microsoft's bid poses to its business, which is built on online advertising.
But Microsoft needs to do much more than sign a big check to Yahoo shareholders to make the deal work. If the takeover is successful, how might it change the landscape for businesses that purchase online advertisements to promote their e-commerce sites?
Typically, a business begins by setting up a storefront on a Web site, and then develops a strategy for driving visitors to that site. Successful tactics may include pay-per-click advertising, search-engine optimization, and links on specialized Web directories.
In contrast, Cartfly encourages businesses to put entrances to their virtual stores in places where visitors already hang out. It lets you add widget code to many different Web sites, including blogs and popular social networking destinations such as MySpace and Blogger; the code creates a door that leads to your Cartfly-hosted store.