Collaboration tools made in Germany: With the OX App Suite, the German Open-Xchange AG offers a cloud-based office solution that is just as good as the competition’s: Microsoft and Google. What can the software do?
The Open-Xchange app suite
Like the two other well-known software-as-a-service solutions: Microsoft 365 from Microsoft and G Suite from Google, the OX App Suite consists of various programs that simplify everyday office life: Word processing, Outlook alternatives, and cloud storage as part of a package.
However, the app suite has an advantage over the others thanks to its dashboard. All individual applications are combined here, and users have an overview of the most important information: new emails, upcoming appointments, current tasks, important files. This portal is quick and can be easily customised using widgets. Each user can therefore decide where to place important information and hide anything they don’t need right away.
All Open-Xchange apps can be operated via the browser and work with HTML5. Users do not need to install anything, the apps work through a web interface.
Part of the app suite is an email program: With the email application, users can quickly and easily receive, send, and organise messages. The big advantage is that you can manage multiple user accounts through one interface. Emails can be sorted into different folders or marked as important. An extensive search function offers additional support when dealing with elaborate mailboxes.
OX Mail does not come with its own mail server, as is the case with Gmail, for example. Instead, users or companies have the option of integrating their existing mail accounts.
Open-Xchange email is also available on the go. The web interface scales well even to small devices, but you can also use additional software since mobile apps are available for iOS and Android.
In order for an email program to be used efficiently, it needs a functional address book. For sending e-mails and other application scenarios, the app suite offers OX Contacts. The software allows users to create, edit, and manage contacts. In addition, contacts can also be grouped by topic and shared with other users. Thanks to the synchronisation function, the most important addresses are always available on every device. To make the creation of new entries as easy as possible, data from suitable sources can be transferred directly to the address book.
The OX Calendar suite provides calendars for organising appointments. The Scheduler allows you to manage several calendars at the same time. For example, private appointments can be managed in the same interface as business appointments that other colleagues also have access to. The software makes it easy to plan meetings and invite participants to them.
OX Drive provides Open-Xchange software users with an easy-to-use cloud storage solution. Files and folders are easily transferred to storage. From here the files can be moved and structured just like on the local hard disk. You can share individual files or entire folders so you can collaborate with colleagues and business partners. Other users are able to access the data and view it, download it, and also modify it.
For paperwork, the app suite offers three different individual applications that are similar to those of other providers. OX Text enables letters and other texts to be written or formatted. OX Presentation creates visually appealing presentations, just like PowerPoint. OX Spreadsheet is a spreadsheet program that provides all necessary functions for calculations and creating tables.
Users can work with different formats. For example, if you receive files created in Microsoft Office, these documents can also be opened and edited easily. Since the OX App Suite is a collaboration software, OX Documents also offers the possibility to collaborate. You can share the documents with other users and then work together on the content.
Advantages and disadvantages of the OX App Suite
The Open-Xchange suite offers almost the same range of functions as other collaboration solutions. However, there are more advantages due to the software’s open design, which in turn is based on the open source concept of the project. Various developers have worked on the app suite - among them some programmers who developed OpenOffice earlier.
Users probably notice the open approach in OX Documents the most. Unlike other providers, this software does not have its own file format. Instead, files from Microsoft Office, OpenOffice, and LibreOffice can be opened and edited easily - without messing up the formatting of the documents. At the same time, it is possible to work with other people on a document without them having to use OX Documents.
A further advantage, which indirectly has something to do with the open source community, is data protection. Microsoft and Google are repeatedly criticised for not sufficiently protecting their users’ data. The OX App Suite, on the other hand, is designed to comply with the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation). If users access the application package from a German hosting provider, they know they’re relying on a data protection-compliant solution.
There are some advantages with the cloud-based approach. The suite is not intended to be installed on a home PC. Users that have less technical experience should always choose a solution that is already installed on a server. Even for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), setting up everything in the local network could be very tedious therefore it’s best to rely on a hosting provider to do the job. Larger companies, however, can also make the app suite available to their employees via their own data centre.
Who is the OX Suite suitable for?
Just like other alternatives to Microsoft Office, the OX App Suite is aimed at companies of all sizes: from freelancers to large international corporations, all users can work with the app suite. The functions of the software package are particularly useful if you want to move business data to the cloud. On the one hand, you can access files and information from any location, and on the other hand you can easily work together with others. Since documents, address books, and other data are stored in the cloud, the files can be quickly shared with other users.
The software-as-a-service aspect is also advantageous for this user group: It means you don’t have to configure each employee’s PC or laptop for the application to work, to install the software, and to maintain it regularly. Any device that has a current browser and a stable internet connection is sufficient. Even if an employee gets a new device, nothing new needs to be installed - thanks to cloud storage, all data is immediately available straightaway. This saves time and money.