When we hear the term “working in the cloud”, some of us are confused about what this term means? Some are skeptical about the new way of working. While some are nonchalant about the most “in” thing in the IT industry. So what is the “cloud” exactly? Why everybody is talking about the “cloud”? How does the “cloud” change our daily routine of work and impact us?
Before I get into anything technical (I will try not to bore you for the next 5 mins), let’s first talk about typical experiences that most of us have gone through while collaborating work with others:
- Many information sent to me needs to be downloaded on my computer, taking up disk space
- Editing, sending and saving different versions of the same document make things more confusing
- Inefficiency arises when people can’t see what others are working on and did overlapping work
- Frustration occurs when you need some information but can’t find it in your computer or it’s with someone but you didn’t know who has it and have to ask around
- All data gone when computer crashes or attacked by virus, unless a copy of it was saved in a USB flash drive
- It is impossible to do my work if I don’t bring my laptop along (or carry my desktop with me)
- Even if I saved everything in my USB drive or emailed my work to myself and work on another computer, I still have to update the older version in my own computer (if not, multiple copies will exist)
- If I lose my USB drive with no other back-ups, good luck to me, I can only pray to God
If you look at the pointers, do you find any similarities to your work life? It doesn’t matter who you are or what you do, as long as we have to coordinate our work with others in such a dynamic environment, certain issues definitely worth our attention.
Yes. Unless you are working alone in the same place forever, coordinating with colleagues, bosses, subordinates, clients… doing work from office, home, overseas, café…. will require something that helps you.
Never have to bring your USB drive everywhere with you again and afraid of losing it. Your USB drive is your “cloud” – your cloud will always be above you wherever you go.
Office 365 – that seamless experience
Ok, let’s face the truth: people resist changes (including me). Once an action became a habit or routine, we will always stick to the old way of working because we feel comfortable doing so. Even if something is NOT working for us, we will find excuses to think that it will be too difficult, unnecessary, time-consuming, or tedious to learn or relearn a new method of doing things. Why should I change?
Even when we think about “changes”, we do it in a different way – we merely adapt to the situation, i.e. changing ourselves, instead of changing the situation. Also, even if we want to change our situation, we do not have the knowledge of what alternatives are available for us.
Unless someone inform us so.
And today, that someone… is me!
Previously we have discussed about the idea of USB drive = Cloud. To put in more concrete terms, “cloud” is an external data storage that allows you to access your documents anytime anywhere as long as you have an Internet connection.
Those who have used G Suite by Google Cloud before, will have a good understanding of what the “cloud” is, how does it work and what can it do. Whatever G Suite can provide, is the most basic function that Office 365 can provide as well.
I am not going to compare Office 365 and G Suite here because many websites have done so. To shortly summarize, many companies are using cloud-based solution mainly because it is convenient to host documents and collaborate online.
But the problem is, companies are using many different platforms for different purposes. For example, companies use Google Docs to collaborate writing online, Nimble Notes to type and organize notes during meeting or convention, Dropbox to store documents, Trello to assign tasks and plan things etc…
But having to create many different accounts for different platforms and using various platforms in order to complement each other because of limited functions they can provide… is the amount of time and effort spent really worth it? How much EXTRA does it costs you?
So in order to provide a more efficient working environment, Microsoft turns to cloud solution and provide us with all the functions we need in just ONE platform. OneDrive replaces Google Drive, Word Online replaces Google Docs, Planner replaces Trello, OneNote replaces Nimble Notes… Having used Office 365 and other platforms myself, I must fairly say that Office 365 gives me a seamless experience because everything is so integrated and connected to each other, that navigating across different functions and doing my work became extremely easy.
Don’t get me wrong, other platforms are great to use as well (I personally am an avid user of Google Docs), but it is more convenient to use them for personal purposes than for professional purposes.
Another reason to choose Office 365 is due to it’s reputation – it came from a big, established company, Microsoft, who has been in the industry to provide working professionals with tools necessary in their work for a long time. They understand us the best. Security is also a huge concern, hence Microsoft is able to provide better security than other platforms. In fact, they have to ensure tight security due to their reputation and are able to have tight security due to their establishment.
You can stop buying new software
In software, there is a term called backward compatibility, which means the latest software can read the older version but the older version can not read the newer ones. So Microsoft Word 2007 can never open a Microsoft Word 2016 document.
You may think this is not a big problem, just save the document in the older version and everyone can happily access it. BUT, the reason why software is constantly updated is because new functions are coming up to satisfy needs and provide better value to users. You are not utilizing it if everyone is using the older version despite having bought the latest one. AND, on top of new functions, newer versions also fix bugs that are present in the older ones. PLUS, what if your clients sent you a Word 2016 document? Do you go back to them every time to ask them to save and convert to an older version for you?
With Office 365, there is no need for you to spend money to buy Microsoft Office for different computers. In the past you need to purchase new software so as to remain updated, but with Office 365, you will always get to use the latest functions of Microsoft Office in the “cloud”. Just pay a one-time installation fee and then add users to it based on subscription. You can subscribe and unsubscribe users depending on your needs, so this became a variable cost that is under your control instead of a high fixed cost that can’t be changed.
Another benefit is since your documents are in the “cloud”, you do not need to save it separately when you want to work outside. Simply open your mobile or tablet or an external computer to log in to your account and start doing stuff that you want to do.
It gives you flexibility
Office 365 allows you to be flexible in your work, on top of the redundancy it provides. This means that when you happen to be overseas and your colleague needs to get a really important document from you but you only saved it in your laptop that you placed it at home. If you have Office 365, simply go online and share the document with him so that he can access it.
Or, you accidentally sprained your ankle and have to rest at home, but client’s deadline is tomorrow and you only left with a small part of your work and you are done. Going to the office is so inconvenient and doesn’t help in your recovery. Hence, simply turn on your home desktop, go to Office 365 and start working on it and deliver your work on time.
You can also have your desktop Microsoft Office applications that are linked to the “cloud”. Which means, edit in your computer whenever you want, the next time when you are connected to the Internet, documents in your computer will be synced online with Office 365 and you will have only one version of document, instead of having multiple of them and it’s hard to keep track which is the latest one. Even if you want to see the older version, you can still track back in Office 365.
It gives you integration AND collaboration
Previously I’ve talked about how Office 365 provides me with a seamless working experience because everything is integrated nicely in one platform. But to elaborate on what kind of integration Office 365 can REALLY provide… it does not only brings all various functions together, it also brings people together.
Everyone in the office are able to edit documents, schedule meetings, book calendars, share notes, share resources and do all kinds of work in Office 365. No matter where we are, as long as we need to collaborate, we can do so in Office 365.
Remember that frustration when you try to find a file in your computer but can’t? And you have to ask around in the office to know who has the document that you wanted? Well, throw away all these hassle because in Delve, just type in the keyword and any document related to the keyword will appear. So Office 365 allows easy access to documents required.
You save time. You save energy. You save costs.
Dynamics CRM can also be integrated into Office 365 (for more information, do see Customer Management using Dynamics CRM and Project Management tips). Depending on what functions you need, you can add and choose and only pay for those that you are using.
Why engage us?
At CyberDesign we do not just sell you a software and close the deal for good. Our best services start even way before we implement or install software for you – we understand your business needs first, propose relevant solution that will help your business or cater to solve your problems specifically, before even selling you the software. Afterwards, whenever you need help or guidance with your business or with regards to software, Cyber Design will always be there for you.
Vast product and business knowledge, excellent after-sales services, are the factors that customers come back to us regularly, allowing us to build our reputation for the past 30 years.
Last but not least, if you ask me what is Office 365, I will summarize it in 3 words – Integration, Collaboration, Flexibility. And overall, it gives you Professionalism.
Till next time, see you!