ChromeOS a fail for business

Posted on July 5, 2013


So we’ve been testing whether we can use ChromeOS / Chromebooks for our business.

Sadly, the answer is basically a no.

Having people using a pure internet OS is compelling for me – it really IT overheads, it makes the company’s employees mobile, it just keeps us that bit more agile.

It worked great for a lot of tasks, after all our email, our CRM, our task management, basic documents, file storage – all of that is in the cloud anyway.

Where is all fell down is Office – doing any form of advanced word document, spreadsheet, or presentation isn’t an option.

We tried a few solutions: Google Docs, MS Office 365 and Zoho. All were fine for basic documents and internal collaboration, but the moment a document had to be client facing, they fell down.

It was basically not possible to do a proposal in any word processor, and output it in the format displayed in the browser. On our case – we need to output proposals and other documents to pdf to share with clients. So any company that wants to do a proposal or similar business document and send it out to clients really can’t rely on a cloud based solution right now.

Sure, there are plenty of excuses for why this is the case. Fonts display differently in different browsers, blah, blah. But it seems reasonable that MS could just specify you have to use IE, or Google that you use Chrome to get what you see on screen output as a pdf.

But I hear there is hope round the corner in the shape of iWorks for iCloud. A snappy name if ever there was one. Early reports seem to indicate a step change in performance on what is offered from Microsoft’s and Google’s online office options.

I’m looking forward to giving it a go, and hoping it will be the missing piece that will let us shift to fully online business processes.

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