Is It Really Free?

It is only a bargain if you really can use what is offered for free or cheap.  In these times many executives will consider what free services are available for businesses and if such services can help cut costs.

If  you’re a small business there are free services to cut costs and to make you feel big and if you’re an medium to large enterprise those same services can be used for project management and collaboration across  localities and businesses.

The admonition is to think critically about what you’re getting for free compared to what you get when you pay a fee for what is usually greater service and confidence in critical support.  Here’s a link to an article on taking another look at the freebies Web 2.0 provides and some guidance on how to weigh them.

How about information technology support.  I wouldn’t try to run an IT department of any size on these services but they certainly are helpful free resources.  Take a look at Tech Guy and How To Geek and you’ll definitely get simple answers or reminders about technical problems and solutions.  If  you’re a small operation then you might find the sites can behave like a virtual help desk.

And there is SaaS (Software as a Service) which is a longer discussion for a future post but is sort of being provided by Google and Microsoft for nothing.  Document storing and sharing for free is available with some surprising features.   First on the block in my recall was Google Apps which has a calendar, mail, messaging and storage for free.  GA is targeted at businesses also.

Microsoft matches that bid with business offerings as well – Office Live.  Use this link to get an introduction to features from Microsoft.

Just remember free is not right unless it serves your needs.  There’s help though and I hope this post is beneficial.

Patrick Rowe

Managing Partner

Rowe and Company

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