Can’t we all just get along? Historically there have been some challenges when sharing documents back and forth between Google Apps and Microsoft Office 365 apps. The most notable of these exchanges has been between Google Sheets and Microsoft Excel. The workflow usually goes something like this. Someone makes a document in Excel and then emails it to a Google Sheets user. The Google Sheets user then opens the workbook in Sheets and makes some edits.
I am not sure how I missed this feature but I did. It works in Google Sheets. Anyhoo. Here’s the deal. On occasion when working in Microsoft Excel. I reference data from other workbooks. Enter collaboration. I’m working on a project where we’re collaborating on a set of shared workbooks in Office 365 SharePoint Online. It just so happens that these workbooks need to reference data another in other words books.
I’ve been seeing this show up more and more as I’m doing tech assessments and so I thought it would be worth discussing. There’s a right way and a wrong way to license your Microsoft Office 365 subscriptions. First let’s start with a quick rundown of the common subscriptions that small businesses use.
I'm working with a client right now helping them move their files and data into the cloud.
Their workflow is such that they that their staff travels frequently.
As a result they need access to files from anywhere in the world.
Now there are number of solutions out there that can solve this problem in its most simplest form.
Which is - I need my files in the cloud.
But the real key is understanding the workflow.
By understanding the workflow it helps you determine which product will provide the best solution.
Even within the products themselves there are implementation options.
So how do we get there from here?
The first step is to understand the workflow.
This usually involves a phone call, some screen sharing and a discussion around the workflow and processes that people follow today.
From there we model a solution.
Then we begin the iteration process.
This involves demoing the proposed solution.
And then doing a lather, rinse, repeat until we've got a working model.
Once we have a working model then we’re ready for deployment.
So to answer the question - what kind of cloud do I need?
The answer is... It depends.
It's important to understand what you need.
It’s a great idea to build a working model before moving forward.
BTW: This specific client went with SharePoint on Office 365.
We've been doing a lot of email migration work lately.
Mostly moving companies to Microsoft Office 365.
Some migrations have been more difficult than others but they all end up in the same place.
And that's a good place.
You see, these new clients had pretty bad email systems prior to coming on board.
Add to that, that most of these clients were paying too much for email services they had.
At the end of the day it's good to have a happy customer with a properly set up environment.
The result is always great.
The more email projects we do.
The better we’ve gotten.
Email in the cloud is now the norm.
Being a big proponent of cloud technologies I've dreamt of these days for many years.
And you know what?
They're finally here!
My dreams are now reality.
Once you've gotten your head around IT as an expense in your business you're ready to move to the cloud. I was checking out some of the new stuff that Office 365 is doing and it's pretty cool stuff.
At the most basic level you can purchase Microsoft Office which gives you Word, Excel PowerPoint and Outlook with a few other goodies thrown in.
As you climb up their subscription ladder things get really interesting. Microsoft figured out that just offering you Microsoft Office at a low monthly rate with Email wasn't going to cut it long term so as you go up the subscription ladder the features and functionality of what's available can really transform a business.
Here’s some things you can do that are pretty neat.
In a web browser - You can share files, you can collaborate on files and you can send files. No need to install Microsoft Office on your computer.
On your phone you can do the same. Being out of the office and not having access to your files is a thing of the past. Having to call someone to email you a file is a thing of the past.
Additionally, let's say you’re working on a file and you realize you need someone's input. You can quickly message them via Skype for Business, drop the file into the conversation and collaborate quickly to get an answer you may need.
When it comes to workflow productivity apps, many of us only know what we know.. what's cool is when someone comes along and shows you a new way to do things more efficiently.
The learning curve isn't steep at all compared to the benefit and efficiency that you can gain by working in a cloud centric world.
As you can tell I'm a fan.
We recently moved a client’s phone system into Office 365. Yep, there’s a phone system inside Office 365. For a small business it actually has pretty much every feature you would need. It’s a pretty awesome piece of tech and the client loves it.
So yeah there are a lot of cool things about Office 365.
By the way this is an unpaid endorsement. I just think that cloud-based systems are where the world is headed and would love for you to come along for the ride
As were in the final countdown for 2016 and we look forward to a brighter more prosperous 2017 it's time to make some tech resolutions. So I thought I would give you a head start and help out with a few suggestions.
2. If you're not already on Microsoft Windows 10 then it's time to upgrade there's no reason to be on Windows 7 anymore and it's turning 8 years old this year.
2.5. If you're on anything older than Windows 7 pick up your computers and throw them out the window. It's shameful to have anything like that in your office at this point.
3. If you have a file server in your office that holds all of your documents move to SharePoint or Google Docs. Files on a server are a thing of the past and we just can't have that anymore.
4. If your phone system requires for you to call a phone vendor to come to your office to configure it, it's time to replace your phone system with a shiny new Voice over IP system.
5. If you are changing tapes or swapping hard drives as part of your backup see item 3. Then take whatever is left over and move to some form of cloud backup.
6. If your employees are using less than a 23 inch monitor they are going blind. Buy them bigger monitors and preferably two.
And finally let's talk about some personal resolutions you can make.
7. Ask and listen to your IT company's advice. They will help you.
8. Accept that if you have not done any of the things listed above - that you will not get angry when things don't work as they should, when things take longer than they should and finally when you lose business due to a tech issue.
9. Accept that the tech in your business requires an investment on your part of not only dollars but of your involvement and desire to move it forward.
10. Promise to yourself that you will not demonize technology or devalue the tech in your business. Know that computers can enable you to become a more successful company, improve your business and improve your company culture.
11. And last but not least make the commitment to get the tech right in your business in 2017.
I hope you have a great year. If there’s anything I can do to help shoot me an email.
All the best.