What new tools are available online and how can they help us?

New services are emerging that let you use your internet browser for tasks such as word processing, spreadsheets, contact management, videoconferencing, photographs and project management. Some are free, others have a sliding scale based on specific features. As an example Google Documents is free and lets you work with word processing documents, spreadsheets and presentations, using any computer with an internet connection. It makes it easier to work from different locations and allows several people to view and edit the same document, which encourages collaboration. There are many other more specialist services.

For example Doodle.com is a free tool for scheduling meetings and BaseCamp is a paid for service popular with project managers. These tools can save money and offer new ways of working. WordPress.com is a free tool for building and managing websites.

Any services such as these are definitely worth trying but be cautious when deciding to switch to them. Look at who owns the data you store on the site – you may be sharing ownership without meaning to. As well as operational issues there are also growing concerns about the legality of storing information in such online services.

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Produced by the Regional ICT Champions who were a Capacitybuilders funded project coordinated by NAVCA from 2008 to 2011