Long ago, (well early 1980’s) the inter-department memo consisted of a paper memo which was moved around the company with check boxes to ensure receipt. Thank goodness, email and distribution lists seriously advanced communication practices, however, data was still a challenge. Moving data and files from your computer/laptop/tablet to a server or virtual environment eighteen months ago was a major exercise, involving application downloads on your desktop/laptop, then several steps to transfer data and files to another server or to a virtual environment. Programs relied on transfer and synching the data from one location to another, which sort of worked. Even if you were successful in moving the files to a virtual server, there was always the problem on whether you were able to open those files to read, edit or print them. Then, moving the data back to your desktop proved an even bigger problem with so many different types of file formats and revisions to convert. Moving a simple Excel spreadsheet proved to be a puzzle that required an IT Engineer to solve. For many people the question was “how do I work off-line and get the data back to the server?” The transition for data mobility from your desktop, mobile or tablet was problematical. Like a piece of the jigsaw was missing.
Then came the “Cloud” with applications that allow profile not workstation dependent access, with data being held in a centralized and secure space virtually, users can log onto the internet and gain access to on-line applications like QuickBooks and Microsoft Office. Now by working with cloud applications the data isn't mobile, it doesn't move - but you can. The missing piece to the jig-saw has been found!
Taking it one step further, and looking at the way people are now expecting to communicate and collaborate in their working routines and practices. Today, new collaboration tools are becoming easy to use and setup and can be applicable to large and small businesses or anywhere there is a desire or need to work together. Working people appreciate good tools and applications sitting on solid secure “Cloud” platforms to enable them to communicate and collaborate virtually. Programs like Office 365 can provide tools that allow team members to collaborate whilst working on PowerPoint and Word documents and to work together in real time over the internet.
The Next Generation
What’s more, Millennials have an expectation to be able to communicate and collaborate whether texting using FaceBook, Webex or working with products that allow on-line collaboration like Office 365. Secure environments are essential in this style of working practice, and as millennials continue to enter the workforce and push new technology in the office the underpinning of a good cloud software solution and platform is essential.
Having worked in office environments through the communication revolution; I’m sure that business evolution is happening now with these cloud based collaborative solutions. They are leading us to a new generation of working practices and as of now we are only seeing the tip of the iceberg.
Written By: Hazel Watkinson