Cloud computing has transformed the way we work. More and more companies and self-employed workers are using it to easily access business information, better communicate with customers and suppliers and ultimately allow a more personal experience for everyone involved. In this article we will offer insight around some of the widely available tools that form the ubiquitous office.
Gabriel is a design entrepreneur, dedicated to the transformation of work spaces for small businesses in order to make them more user-friendly and increase productivity. In order to do this successfully, Gabriel is constantly visiting his clients, understanding their needs on-site, taking pictures, and sharing design proposals, that have been prepared by his team working remotely from their homes, to get his client’s approval.
Gabriel's office consists of his computer and cell pone. These allow him to make teleconferences whenever needed with a provider, monitor Project progress and communicate through chat functions to give instructions to his team. This flexibility allows him to spend more quality time with his family, as the ubiquity of his office minimises travel and optimizes his agenda.
Modern productivity tools in the cloud allow facilitate these scenarios and many, many more. Let’s take Office 365 as an example, which became the de factor standard for companies in its local versión, but has been extended to the cloud with products that are integrated with the suite. One of these is OneDrive, whose function is the centralization of shared files. This decreases the pressure on computer storage and allows access to anyone who requires it – similar to Gabriel's clients, who can review their own plans whenever and whereever they want.
Juliana is a software developer and a lover of outdoor adventures. Her clients are in many different countries and time zones, and she receives update requests for collaborative applications whenever her clients need the,. Juliana uses video conferencing services to hold virtual meetings with these clients, maintains her code backup in the cloud, ensuring she is always available and can connect to shared repositories to upload updates. All of this whilst enjoying the view from her faviourite beach campsite!
As for Juliana, the use of teleconferencing is familiar to most people with Internet access, being popular even in households that make video calls to their loved ones in other countries. This same technology is now offered by Skype for Business to allow businesses to connect remote workers and further facilitate cooperation between their teams.
For large-scale presentations or meetings, Skype for Business allows videoconferences for up to 10,000 attendees who only require a public url link to enter.
In order to unify all these resources in a single cloud application, tools such as chat, email, agenda, shared files, teleconference and project management have been integrated into ‘Teams’. This means you have a single, centralized interface where you can create groups, subscribe to specific channels of interest , schedule and execute remote meetings by video call, and collaborate on and off line using chat and sharing files. At the same time you can check the progress of assigned tasks through project control boards.
"Corporate social network platforms, enables interaction within the company and can be a friendlier method to improve communication among employees"
Social networks are often restricted in work places. Companies often see them as a factor to lower productivity, however, there is a corporate social network platform, which enables interaction within the company and can be a friendlier method to improve communication among employees. This is Yammer, which is made up of the well-known walls, surveys, likes and video streaming that we all recognise from social media. This allows employees to exchange information in a more intuitive way within the company, facilitating the internal disclosure of relevant content.
Larger companies require a structured model of content publication on their intranet. Office 365 has Share Point as the base platform of a customizable internal website. Share Point allows users to publish news, share general interest advertisements, generate knowledge databases, among other applications. Share Point's visual format adapts to computers and mobile devices. In the case of the administration of sensitive documents on the Intranet, Share Point is integrated with the active directory to ensure individuals only have accesss to the information relevant for them.
For developers like Juliana, there are services in the cloud that integrate their code creation environments with remote repositories, aimed to both ambientes.Net and Open Source. This is a whole world by itself (Azure) and we will talk about it in a later article.