We are looking at adopting NextCloud in our IT consultancy. We are a small boutique company with a geographically dispersed workforce throughout Australia and New Zealand.
We currently use a range of web and workstation based applications including:
- Confluence - for documenting customers and their hardware and software installations, configurations and project descriptions etc (think lots of hierarchical pages for each customer using headings, text, tables linked pages etc
- Asana - for project management, task definition, who did what to whom. This has a link to
- Clockify - for timekeeping for billing purposes. Charges levied by the hour, day or part thereof.
- Pumble - for team communications during the working day (and night)., Used for chat and for video calling.
- Teams - only when we cannot avoid it - used mainly for meetings with clients.
- MS-Office (mainly Word and Excel)
We also currently use Thunderbird and Lightning for email and calendaring (multiple accounts).
I’ve been searching for input and found “some” but thought I would be better getting this straight from the horse’s mount so to speak.
So my question is (and I know the length of a piece of string is defined as a variable) can we replace the functionality of all (or some) of these (and we are only taking in general terms here) using NextCloud and associated Apps?
If anybody has been down this road before and can offer their experiences I would be grateful to them.
Thanks and Regards
hi @pitchfork welcome to the forum
Nobody can seriously tell you if it works without very detailed analysis. As
"IT consultancy" you know this very well. But I think your stuff is maybe more flexible than common organizations…
I try the 3 tools I know:
- Confluence: is very powerful and maybe the hardest to replace. take a look at “Collectives” app.
- Teams: depending on the use-case could vary from easy TO imspossible - basic audio/video conferencing could be replaced with Talk (running with “high-performance backend”)… “normal” WebRTC usage should work… but there is no “good” phone dial-in support… and if it comes to Apps or integration with MS stuff like OneNote - no chance.
- MS-Office: usually could be
easy replaced with Libreoffice/Collabora - in my eyes LibreOffice without “Ribbons” is more user-friendly… keeping all the data local is definitely better for privacy… but again if it come to M$ related things e.g. VBA macros, M365 Onedrive, OneNote integrations it becomes hard
- there are PM, time-keeping apps as well but I have to glue how good they are so no recommendation
you can integrate Thunderbird with Nextcloud Adressbook and Calendar… I’m using this for my family - no glue if it works good for business (sharing/free-busy).
Looking at you apps landscape sounds like you would gain some benefits from an integrated platform. hopefully this is Nextcloud… either way this is M365. I would definitely give NC a try before you sell your soul to a devil (M$)
Microsoft takes advantage of its monopoly and has linked the operating system to both client- and cloud-based applications. In the end, you will have to live with compromises if you really want to break out of this monopoly. Maybe start by rolling out the free LibreOffice to your users. If that doesn’t get accepted, you might as well forget the rest.
It is also the case that no IT product solves everything. Even in the Windows world, third-party applications are used. So it would be perfectly fine to replace only some parts like Microsoft Office with LibreOffice, Microsoft 365 incl. Teams with Nextcloud and keep e.g. Confluence. As written, maybe start with LibreOffice and get your users interested in Nextcloud.
Maybe get some commercial support for Nextcloud or other free software as well. Calculate how much you pay for Microsoft products today. You’ll probably be able to invest a little money in Nextcloud as well, at least looking to the future. Unfortunately, Nextcloud is not worth it for many as long as they have to pay for Microsoft at the same time. So i don’t expect any cost savings for the time being.
Thanks for your response.
We are painfully aware of Micro$oft’s policies and practices. We have been using Open Source products since the company began some 10+ years ago. I personally have been a Linux user for over 25 years starting with Yggdrasill, a Libre Office user for years, before that OpenOffice and before that even more arcane products. We use Office and Teams because that is the preferred medium of some of our clients, not by preference.
“Our users” are all battle hardened DBAs and IT consultants with at least 25+ years each so it’s not like we have to go convert a mass of Microsoft-tainted end-users.
What we are actually looking for is the experience that other people have had in switching away from the specific commercial products I mentioned to NextCloud and NextCloud apps, how smoothly that transition has one and pitfalls that have been experienced along the way.
We are not the slightest bit worried about “cost savings” - we simply want to host all of our documents and processes securely in house and be able to access them from within or without and not have to worry about the multiple products we do now.
you might review this check lists (sorry German) maybe it helps:
I want to address this statement:
IT professionals know this but for less trained people who might read this discussion I would point out security and privacy are different things. Hosting files in the cloud is secure… likely more secure than self-hosting. the advantage of self-hosting is privacy, which doesn’t exist in a cloud.