How Cloud Has Transformed Collaboration
Cloud collaboration refers to the way that documents, spreadsheets, and other files can be shared and co-authored by multiple users. As the technology has developed, it has become possible to upload, comment and edit files at the same time – thus offering a highly efficient way of working to businesses who have already migrated most of their processes onto the cloud.
In the past, collaboration had to be done on a face-to-face basis, via email, or over more primitive methods such as FTP. All these methods were inherently inefficient, especially when working on projects that involved large or multiple teams; comments and revisions would be spread across innumerable files and emails, meaning team leaders would be required to spend a significant portion of their time collating and managing all the scattered information.
Prior to the internet, a typical company’s document collaboration process was a structured and sequential affair, with projects advancing through carefully planned stages as workers used personal productivity programs whilst remaining isolated in office cubicles or home office environments.
However, as organizations increasingly required people around the world to work in real-time on complex tasks whilst using different devices, the cloud offered a welcome solution. Some of the earliest cloud applications were collaborative tools such as WebEx web conferencing (founded in 1996) and the ProjectPlace project management platform (founded in 1998), and they set the foundations for the thriving industry we see today.
Cloud computing started to seriously evolve in 2006-2007 following Amazon’s offering of IT infrastructure services to businesses as web services, and Google’s decision to move parts of its email service on to the public cloud. The rapid growth of cloud computing finally gave the technology behind cloud collaboration the basis upon which it could evolve.
Since 2007 there has been a rapid growth in the number of smaller, independent, and innovative start-ups that offer new collaborative features and services traditionally overlooked by larger and less adaptable firms. The range of new features and focuses is vast. Some of these companies have worked on developing software for collaboration within a single business, while other specialize in enabling collaboration between enterprises. Depending on the software used, collaboration tools now provide users with real-time commenting and messaging, permissions management, leverage presence indicators, the ability to collaborate outside a company firewall, an easy way to ensure full auditability of files and documents, and a way to set personal activity feeds and email alerts.
One such business that emerged after the 2007 boom is Acumatica. The company aims to make it as simple as possible for remote employees to access and collaborate on documents from anywhere by offering a unique set of features and functionality. Despite its simplicity, their software is feature-rich – a blend that’s importance cannot be overstated.
Mike Chtchelkonogov, Chief Technology Officer at the company, says his and the company’s ambition is to make Acumatica a “top five provider of the mid-market ERP space,” though he adds that their ultimate goal and long-term vision is to make them number one.
The company’s Cloud Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software delivers the benefits of cloud computing and Software as a Service (SaaS) without sacrificing system customization, control, security, and performance. It allows users to customize and create new cloud-based apps, offers a great level of built-in security, and – importantly – still allows you to share and collaborate with others anywhere in the world before exporting work to HTML, Microsoft Excel, Word, PDF, and email.
It is difficult to predict the future of cloud-based collaboration. Chtchelkonogov himself admits it is almost impossible to make perfect collaborative ERP software. He believes one of the biggest problems facing ERP collaborative products is converting them from software used by one department within a company into another piece of software that allows other departments to move the company forward – though he is adamant that Acumatica will continue to use any available modern technology to help them achieve that goal.
What do you think the future holds for collaborative cloud technology? Let us know in the comments section below.
Sponsored Post By Acumatica – Additional information about Acumatica’s cloud ERP services including demos and pricing are available at Acumatica.
By Daniel Price