Office suites typically contain word processing, spreadsheet, presentation and other productivity programs to handle general business tasks. Purchasing an office suite like SmartSuite Millennium Edition from Lotus Development or Office 97 Small Business Edition 2.0 from Microsoft ($499; http://www.microsoft.com/sbe) can save you money. It also provides you with a host of programs that resemble each other and interact better than stand-alone products do.
For Micheline Long, owner of Micheline J. Long's The Red Phone, a computer consulting and freelance writing company in Palmdale, California, the cohesiveness of the programs in SmartSuite Millennium Edition makes using and sharing company information much easier. "I can take information from a database and throw it into a word processing document or even into something like Lotus Organizer to add it to my address book or calendar," says Long. "The integration is really wonderful."
More than just integration, SmartSuite acts as a valuable productivity tool. For instance, Long has used it to create word processing documents and build a Web site for her business that provides technical support tips to her clients online.
Lotus SmartSuite Millennium Edition includes Lotus 1-2-3, FastSite Web publisher, Organizer, Word Pro, Freelance Graphics, Approach, ScreenCam multimedia software and the SmartCenter Internet Information Manager. The most well-known office suite, Microsoft Office 97, integrates six useful applications: Microsoft Publisher 98, Outlook 98, Word 97, Excel 97, Small Business Financial Manager 98, and Expedia Streets 98 for mapping and travel information.