Even before the COVID-19 pandemic happened, productivity applications have always been an important part of the everyday life of various individuals, from employees to students and people in between. Today, with the advent of remote work worldwide, it has become more crucial for organisations to ensure productivity and communications across the entire workforce.
With that, companies and individuals utilise productivity suites that consist of various applications for different everyday tasks, such as Office 365 from Microsoft, with about 285 million monthly users as of March 2020. The Office 365 consists of applications such as Word, Presentation, Excel, Outlook, Teams and other inclusions, which offers users to create documents and collaborate with colleagues.
Perhaps, Office 365 is the most well-known line of productivity products for many users globally, as the suite is also pre-installed on many devices – phones, laptops, desktops – which make it the default. However, Office 365 is subscription-based, meaning users have to pay to fully enjoy its features.
In addition, it is used mostly offline which makes it harder for collaboration unless you upload it into the cloud. In solving these drawbacks, various productivity suites have emerged, also offering various additional features and DSA listed some of them here:
OpenOffice: Developed by open-source platform Apache, the OpenOffice offers free to use word processing, spreadsheet, presentation, vector graphic editing and database management applications. Unlike Office 365, OpenOffice has a single interface for all its application in the suite and it provides faster bug fixes since it is open-source. However, it operates in the ODF format for documents which may be difficult to integrate into platforms using DOC. Since it is open-source, it is vulnerable to malicious users.
Google Workspace (formerly G Suite): Possibly the biggest competitor in this list, the Google Workspace works best in the cloud, which makes it the choice for users who prioritise collaboration with other individuals. Gmail remains the most popular email platform with 1.8 billion users worldwide, compared to Microsoft’s Outlook. Its Gmail, along with other productivity apps such as Docs, Sheets and Slides are all connected with its Drive storage through the cloud which ensures the availability of the outputs wherever and whenever as long as you are online. With that, however, working offline poses a challenge for Google Workspace and it is also subscription-based.
WPS Office: If you are more active on your mobile devices compared to desktops/laptops, WPS Office can be more suitable for you. It is free to use, although the application shows ads instead. It offers Document, Presentation, Spreadsheet, PDF and even a Scanner, which you can upload in the cloud or in the device. For additional features, you have to pay for a premium account that also offers 20GB cloud space.
LibreOffice: As the name suggests, LibreOffice is free to use. This comes pre-installed on Ubuntu Linux and can run in any platform since it is written in Java. You can install and use it without registration. You can also install add-ons and plugin for additional features, enabling a customised experience. It is mainly offline, which means it is not suitable for collaboration in the cloud.
CryptPad: The CryptPad collaboration suite is known for its encryption features. All the content stored on CryptPad is encrypted before being sent, which means nobody can access your data unless you give them the keys. It also has cloud storage in its suite, which is encrypted as well. Registration is free and does not require personal information and it works in a browser instead of installing in the device.