Giving your business or team the ability to access their documents and work through the Internet offers many opportunities for staff to work remotely with all the information they need at their fingertips.
But this freedom may come at a price… If a user is travelling without Internet connectivity they often won’t have access to the information they need as it’s in The Cloud. Perhaps worse, they could rely on local copies of files that could be out of date. And any changes they make or new work they create may not be transferred to the Online storage.
A distribution business we helped was using a mix of Google Docs and Dropbox for their file storage and online collaboration. Their issues were significant:
- Online docs were not available when offline. This was a massive deal for them as staff regularly work when flying on business. They tried cloning to local copies of files but then found that their updates didn’t apply back to Online docs as others had amended them as well.
- Sync errors. If two people saved a file back to the online file storage, two versions of the file were created. This generated significant extra effort in trying to manually identify changes in different versions of documents.
- Speed of Sync. The sync settings did not allow them to turn off non-critical folders for syncing while travelling, meaning that they were trying to sync lots of unneeded changes while travelling over poor Internet connections often meaning that they didn’t get the updates they needed and that their changes and new documents did not get uploaded.
The business implemented Office 365 with our help and now they have seamless integration of local files with online files. Local files sync to the cloud and it’s even possible to collaborate directly on a document or a spreadsheet in Word or Excel!
The impact on the business is significant. Staff don’t waste time worrying about how to get the important data they need onto their laptop for a trip and then how to update central system with that data when they are next connected and the headache of multiple document versions has disappeared.
This is just the start. Staff are now starting to use many of the other features of Office 365 (see “what’s in the box?” for more details).
Management have identified that staff who travel regularly are now:
- Better informed
- Much happier to travel
- Less stressed on their return
They estimate that staff are now well over 25% more effective while travelling – which means the Return on Investment can be measured in days rather than months!