The growth of internet use and the availability of free information in Pakistan has resulted in the rise of entrepreneurial class. Starting up new businesses or researching on new business ideas can work like a dream on google. Business automation is one of the main worries of any new/old business concern and with this article I would be listing some free or open source softwares that would make your life easy.
For bloggers, writers, researchers:
yWriter4: an amazing tool for novels, eBooks, research papers. Organize your novel as projects add chapters to it and write away. yWrite4 runs on any version of windows.
OpenOffice Writer: part of the hugely popular OpenOffice and a rival of MS WORD, been using it for the past couple of days and loving it!
NeoOffice: NeoOffice is a full-featured set of office applications (including word processing, spreadsheet, presentation, drawing, and database programs) for Mac OS X
Scribus: Scribus is not just a word processing software, it is an open-source program that brings award-winning professional page layout to Linux/Unix, MacOS X, OS/2 and Windows desktops with a combination of “press-ready” output and new approaches to page layout.
RoughDraft: RoughDraft is a freeware word processor for Windows 95, 98, ME, NT, 2000 and XP. Although suitable for general use, it has features specifically designed for creative writing: novels, short stories, articles, plays and screenplays. It’s designed to be as practical as possible, offering all the features you need, but without being complicated or awkward to use.. Writers will appreciate the instant formatting, backups and publishing options available.
Research and Organization Tools:
JaLingo: JaLingo is a free OS independent dictionary application; users can easily hook it up with their desktop environment and the best part: it works offline too.
WordWeb: WordWeb is a one-click English thesaurus and dictionary for Windows that can look up words from in almost any program. It works off-line, but can also look up words in web references such as the Wikipedia encyclopedia
Bibus: Bibus is a bibliographic database. It uses a MySQL or SQLite database to store references. It can directly insert references in OpenOffice.org and MS Word and generate the bibliographic index. If you write non-fiction research-based work and you need to cite your references than this is the software for you.
Graviax: Grammar rules (XML files containing regular expressions) and grammar checker. Currently only for the English language, although it could be extended. Unit tests are built into the rules. Might form the basis of a grammar checker for Open Office.org.
Research Assistant: Research Assistant is a free multi-platform open source project (C++/Qt) for researchers to ease their work in classification of any kind of information. It is going to be more than just a MS OneNote analog.
EverNote: EverNote can be a great way to capture, store and organize information that you’re using in your writings. Best of all, you can use it from anywhere, even works on your phone.
I found the following softwares a great help in a personal productivity capacity.
Prompts: Many writers and bloggers seek out articles, prompts, and story starters to get their creative juices flowing. Need a little help in getting inspiration for your article?
SeoQuake: Seoquake is a powerful tool for Mozilla Firefox and for Internet Explorer, aimed at helping web masters who deal with search engine optimization and internet promotion of web sites. Seoquake allows user to obtain and investigate many important SEO parameters of the internet project under study on the fly.
FreeMind: If you have used MindManager then you would love this tool. FreeMind is a premier free mind-mapping (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mind_map) software written in Java. The recent development has turned it into high productivity tool.
Hyperwords: if you use Firefox, then itâ€™s a must plug-in to have! Enough said.
Groupware and Collaborative Softwares
The above mentioned softwares focus on individuals but when you talk about office automation and productivity then the following softwares require a mention at least.
Web Publishing / Content Management systems
Web Content management systems have evolved over the years and now as well as managing web content, the terms such as document archival and retrieval, news paper publishing, ability to assign roles and responsibilities to the web users, along with workflow management of business processes on the web have all been benchmarked as a pre-requisite for a good content management system.
Joomla: arguably the king of all content management systems, its wide spread usability is such that you can make it do anything on the web, whether your organization needs a corporate website that sells products/services, or a real estate website, whether youâ€™re an individual blogger or a large corporate, Joomla has a solution for everyone.
Drupal: another competitive open source content management system, if Joomla specializes in content then drupal specialize in community based websites even though it can compete with Joomla on content management as well. Facebook like applications are possible in drupal.
WordPress: Need I say more?
Sales, marketing , customer support and service, order management, products and inventory management are all those area which a good Customer relationship management software of today will cater to. The CRM requirements usually vary so much from organization to organization and many CRMs initiatives have failed because implementation was limited to software installation without focusing on the customer centric approach, I have chosen the following two softwares because of their customization ability and superior workflow structures.
SugarCRM: This software encapsulates the complete marketing-leads-sales-orders-inventory-service-support cycle of a business; I rate sugarCRM above Vtiger for its better product and inventory management. sugarCRM has open source as well as other paid models as well.
Vtiger: This is what they say on the Vtiger website: Tired of Kinda, Sorta Open Source? Get the honest Open Source: Vtiger CRM ( I donâ€™t think this statement is misleading )
Moodle: Moodle is a course management system (CMS) – a free, Open Source software package designed using sound pedagogical principles, to help educators create effective online learning communities. You can download and use it on any computer you have handy (including webhosts), yet it can scale from a single-teacher site to a University with 200,000 students.
Accounting and ERP Softwares:
PHP Point Of Sale: PHP Point Of Sale (POS) is designed to help small businesses with keeping track of customers, items and inventory, and generate reports based on sales. This program works great for businesses that use cash, check, or account numbers for their sales.
th-ERP: ERP application, including point-of-sale (POS), stock (inventory/warehouse), purchase, payables, receivables, general ledger (accounting), payroll, human resource (HR), time tracking, project management. th-ERP is written in PHP and using MySQL
Free POS: FreePos is a multiuser Point of Sale ( Point-of-Sale or POS ) app written in Visual Basic and PHP for web-based Linux use. Currently available modules are inventory, backoffice, cash reconciliation, Purchases.
Project Management Tools:
dotProject: dotProject is a very sophisticated software for online project and task management in a collaborative environment.
Mantis: Mantis is a free popular web-based bugtracking system. It is written in the PHP scripting language and works with MySQL, MS SQL, and PostgreSQL databases and a webserver. Mantis has been installed on Windows, Linux, Mac OS, OS/2, and others. Almost any web browser should be able to function as a client.
There are hundreds of others useful softwares for different business domains, I also intentionally didn’t recommend any ecommerce solutions as those have been dealt in an earlier post. Did I miss anything?