ASP Office Assistants

By SmallBusinessComputing Staff | Posted November 01, 2000
Using application service providers to support a business is a scary concept for some. Try starting small. Here's a sampling of ASPs that can meet the daily needs of many offices. These dot-coms provide a number of services that help eliminate the hassle of some of the more time-consuming office tasks that often reduce efficiency.

We found a provider in several different areas: document print-and-delivery, postal services, IT functions, and procurement. If you want to get your feet wet without handing over your entire business to an ASP, give these services a go.

Applications Galore

Appcity.com is a potpourri of applications, which are tailored to your business needs and include hosting and customer support. Appcity.com provides mobile workforce coordination with expense/ time tracking and sales force automation, as well as operation management with bug monitoring for IT projects.

Appcity.com; 877-632-2489; www.appcity.com; starting at $90 a month

Take it to the Printer

Business professionals will appreciate NowDocs.com's applications, which include uploading files for virtual storage and a variety of delivery options. Enter the names and addresses of the recipients of the correspondence, upload the file, and choose from a variety of printing and binding options. The Page Preview
feature allows senders to view pages within a browser before posting it, so it is printed according to user specifications. After previewing the file, choose such delivery options as two-hour, same-day, next-day, two-day, or regular mail.

NowDocs.com also offers a Virtual Filing Cabinet that allows storage of frequently used documents, permitting users to send files from anywhere, at anytime.

NowDocs.com; 877-669-3627; www.nowdocs.com; prices vary depending on services

Purchase Procedures

OutPurchase.com is procurement management made easy. Workflow options allow you to control spending by fixing a maximum dollar amount on each order. You can also set buying privileges to skip these rules. Office products such as furniture and technology supplies, as well as promotional items, are as close as your computer. Track your purchases and orders using OutPurchase's reports.

OutPurchase.com; 650-292-7300; www.outpurchase.com; free

Virtual Mail Room

Now you can save time and skip the post office hassle by printing your own postage from the Internet. Pitney Works' ClickStamp makes it easy to complete daunting mailing tasks. In addition to buying stamps on line, ClickStamp offers marketing services with tools such as demographics on potential customers. Incorporate this information with DirectNet to create personalized mailings. ClickStamp will print and send it for you. In addition, the DirectMail Budget Planner helps businesses benefit from direct marketing efforts.

ClickStamp Online; 800-5Pitney; www.pitneyworks.com; prices vary depending on usage and services

Router Maintenance

Network failures are a business owner's nightmare. ReadyRouter.com. sends a pre-configured replacement for your network router or has an on-site technician install the new unit. Through your local Cisco reseller you can purchase the SMARTnet service package, which automatically registers your equipment with ReadyRouter.

The ReadyRetriever software is installed on a PC that has TCP/IP access to the units they support. It then checks the units for any changes since the last refresh, and uploads them using an encrypted session. When a unit fails a re-configured one will be waiting.

ReadyRouter.com; 877-867-3239; www.readyrouter.com; $150 to $900 depending on unit

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