DocMan Technologies, a Cleveland-based application service provider, has created an "Office Anywhere" concept to assist small businesses with less than 50 users manage their IT services. The way it works is instead of having all your documents and applications located at your business, all the software is located on DocMan's servers which are remotely accessed from your site. The system is maintained by DocMan's staff, eliminating the need for an IT professional to visit your business every time there is a problem.
"The main benefit that the smaller company can recognize is that they immediately gain IT support services," says Michael Pray, founder and president of DocMan. "Someone is hosting or managing their system that is qualified to do so."
The company doesn't just host one program, it hosts your entire computing environment.
"We host everything from e-mail to your Microsoft Office suite," says Pray. "All the documents and data that is created from your applications are all stored on our system and backed up multiple times in different locations."
By keeping all your data and applications in a central remote facility, your employees can have the same productivity on the road as they would when in the office. In most configurations, the office is connected to DocMan through a private link that acts like a wide-area network.
Employees see the same desktop they do now, the only difference is the applications are located elsewhere.
"It also becomes a controlled environment," says Pray. "We can conform the system to whatever the business owner adopts as policy. We can lock down the environment, and because it is centrally managed, we can monitor it so it stays that way."
Keeping everything off site also gives you an immediate disaster recovery or business continuation plan for your IT needs.
You can also tie into a document management system to help archive your company's knowledge base. Pray says the Office Anywhere concept is cost justified between 10 and 50 users. Anything more than 50 usually justifies a dedicated IT person at the company.