Moving Your Office Into The Cloud

My company recently moved to Google Apps, a software-as-a-service office suite. I was skeptical at first. The behavioral change was painful. Precision and features were lacking. But after four months, I’m now a convert and advocate for cloud-based email, documents, presentations and calendar.

Here’s why:

1. All my data are backed up. It doesn’t matter if my laptop or company servers melt, everything will be backed up. Theft? I can easily change the password. I feel secure.

2. I can easily and selectively share my documents. That means I can more easily collaborate with others, and aggregate group contributions — in real time.

3. I can easily share my calendar and reliably schedule meetings. Never before have I had so few hiccups in trying to coordinate meetings and conference rooms.

4. From a computer-processing and workflow standpoint, I can operate more efficiently. That’s because all of my office applications work within Web-browser tabs, and I can avoid opening any other clunky office applications.

5. The spam I receive is at an all-time low. Moreover, false-positive spam instances are rare.

6. My office suite seamlessly connects to my company’s internal Web site.

7. Rather than get uptight about file and folder organization, I can easily locate and manage work files as I do with the rest of the Web — via search.

8. From an administrative standpoint, deploying and managing cloud-based office suites to many people is easy. The price is right, too.

9. Finally, the most profound benefit of the cloud-based office suite: I can leave my laptop at the office and have full access to my digital office suite from any other computer in the world. I can’t tell you how liberating that is. You’ll quickly realize how heavy and unwieldy your laptop is — once you stop carrying it around everywhere.

To be sure, cloud-based office suites have much room for improvement — especially when it comes to document formatting. Presentations, when there are multiple contributors, have a tendency to adopt a crazy mix of fonts and alignments. And cloud-based spreadsheets don’t allow all the precision and sophistication of Excel.

Still, the pros far outweigh the cons. And cloud-based office suites are only getting better every day.

(Photo credit: adria.richards)

This also was my recent MediaPost column.

Published by Max Kalehoff

Father, sailor and marketing executive.

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  2. The fact that the Patriot Act gives the US government access to anything on the cloud (since Google servers are hosted on the US territory…) makes the cloud somewhat of a challenge though for global companies of a certain size.

  3. I spent a couple months at a small company that relied on this kind of setup, however I found that my Outlook email habits were so entrenched that relying on email search into of sort-into-folders, was a productivity killer. I keep my actual Outlook inbox for anything requiring immediate action and have 100s of folders for everything else. The gmail ways of not losing attention-demanding emails in the tidal wave of the never-ending inbox (starring or labeling emails) did not ‘take’ with my brain. It was pure hell. For me. I don’t honestly know if I could have continued working there over that single issue, it was that bad.

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