A confusing title but this blog does have something to do with clouds, of the technology kind, that is.
A conversation regarding public versus private cloud was had between me and a mate yesterday. You read public cloud, I read data all over the place on Dropbox, OneDrive, Hotmail and other free or freemium apps. I read private cloud you read this sort of stuff but for massive companies. I don’t. I don’t need to. I run my own private cloud. There is no Sharepoint, no SAP, no Salesforce or any other web based MegaCorp tools in my cloud for that matter.
What there is however is a lean, mean, fighting machine of software and tools. These are all free to use and you can purchase enterprise versions as well. I can access anything I need to do any business I need anywhere on God’s earth and all of my information is accessible and secure.
So how we achieve this and what tools do I use?
For a start there are a nice little bundle of HTML and PHP scripts that tie quite a few things together for me. They have a variety of functions and the php scripts provide some monitoring, security and a few handy little tools such as my little travel booking engine. But this is only the start.
For CRM. I have used Vtiger, Sugar and SuiteCRM, the last one of these is the best incarnation of the same product so far in my opinion. However it is no longer suitable for my business. So everything is now rolled into a GroupWare product.
GroupWare I here you say? The first thought into the heads of my techie friends is likely to be “Lotus Ruddy Notes!” ( Some might replace ruddy with a word begginignwith the letter F). Err No. In terms of web based PHP software this sector had in my opinion a ruddy terrible time of it. I have been testing EGroupWare on and off for a few years and I now believe with the latest version, that they have got it right. Oh and the CRM suits my business nicely.
Project Management. Quite simply DotProject rules the roost! It has some way to go to match its senior peers of Microsoft Project and Primavera but boy can this product punch well above its weight.
File and document sharing. Now this is the hot one of the moment. Owncloud used to be amazing, I used to love this tool for document and File Sharing oh and giving me access to ebooks, music and movies from home, whilst on the move. It used to eat Dropbox for breakfast. Unfortunately it has now become too bloated. I cannot really recommend this any longer, it can also knock other applications out by virtue of the PHP settings it needs. But there is a new kid on the block in the form of Pydio, this is where Owncloud should be, especially in terms of speed.
Front Accounting is showing the way in terms of a rock solid, private, cloud based accountancy package. Even with my love hate relationship off accounting, this is a nifty tool. No XERO or other such tools here.
A number of other tools add to the mix above such as paste, my own private pastebin website, PhpList for managing mailshots, RoundCube for email. SeoPanel for search engine analysis. Tiny RSS is an excellent RSS feed parser. I also have a podcast tool for producing my Podcasts. There are few other things in there as well which make up the rest.
As for websites. I need a damn good reason now to use anything but WordPress. It has simply become the best website management tool on earth in my opinion.
SO there we have it, this what is up there in my private cloud, Simba! And a bloody good stack of tools it is too!