Rolling your own online (virtual) office
As the Internet is offering more web services to entrepreneurs and small business owners, it's becoming increasingly easy to make your own virtual office.
After posting my series on building your own virtual office, I've noticed more and more activity geared towards using web services and mashups where users are building their own office away from the office.
Based on the amount of programmable services available (2000 according to programmableweb.com), there should be no reason why you couldn't roll your own virtual office.
The first step would be to look through the list of mashups on programmableweb.com, find the services you would need most for your business, and examine their API.
Take the API and head on over to Google's Mashup Editor. Google's Mashup Editor gives developers a sandbox to play in to call different web services on the Internet and display their results in a testing environment.
Once you've tested your web services through Google, you're backend infrastructure is already built. The frontend, or client, is the only thing you need to build.
Of course, you always have the shortest course of action, which is using existing online software. Read/Write Web talks about rolling your own online office and puts an "office" into 7 categories:
- Document Sharing
Each category discusses the latest and greatest online applications to fill even the fussiest manager's requests.
For most small business owners, Zoho is the one-stop shop for all of your online application needs. Recently, ZDNet reported that Zoho just released Creator 2.0, their own version of an online database. I personally haven't kicked the tires yet, but I may be looking at it soon.
Whatever your needs as a small business owner or entrepreneur, the virtual office is becoming easier than ever to create.