If there’s one thing the cloud is good for (hint: there’s actually more than one thing!) it’s collaboration. And “collaboration” is arguably one of the defining words of business in the 21st century – it’s what we’re all meant to be doing: collaborating with clients, with colleagues, with suppliers…
And the cloud makes collaboration easier.
What is cloud collaboration?
If we define ‘collaboration’ as working together, then cloud collaboration is using cloud-based tools and apps to work together – in other words, thanks to the cloud, we don’t have to be in the same room anymore. Now you can have multiple people working on the same open, live document, editing and sharing changes in real-time.
What kind of tools and apps? The most common features are remote document storage, document sharing, simultaneous access and editing, and automatic version control. Some of the best-known cloud collaboration tools are those provided as part of Google Workspace, including Gmail, Docs, Drive, and Meet.
There’s an obvious attraction to this kind of working for most businesses, and especially since the COVID pandemic led to a surge in remote, isolated working and a strong need for maintaining social distance.
The benefits of cloud-based collaboration
You know people often work better together – quicker, more productively, more creatively… Cloud-based collaboration is a way of achieving this, and more, even when people are geographically distant. In short, the benefits include:
This is the benefit that underpins all the others: your files, documents, spreadsheets, etc. are accessible to people no matter where they are – all they need is connection to the network. Whether in the office, at home, on the road, or in a pandemic lockdown, file sharing and editing are as straightforward as if the files were on the individual’s own hard drive.
What’s more, size of file is less and less of a concern. Most email servers still have strict limits on messages and attachment size, restricting what people can send to each other. Sharing via the cloud, however, and those large video and audio files are now accessible to everyone, no matter where they are.
And unlike that individual hard drive, the files you store in the cloud are automatically backed up – in the rare event there’s a problem, your files are highly retrievable.
With cloud collaboration tools, teams are not hindered by being apart. Distance and location are no longer factors in how you organise work and consequently, productivity tends to increase – people work together faster and more efficiently.
In fact, when collaborating via the cloud, you can turn remote working into an advantage by allowing different people to work on the same document at different times to suit their location and time zone. Potentially, cloud collaboration has no downtime.
The greater the distance between collaborators, the greater the importance of clear and rapid communication. With cloud-based tools, team members can communicate in real-time while working together on a joint document – whether it’s instant messaging, group chat, comments added to the document, or just hopping on a video call together.
Editing in real-time
In the cloud, there’s no need to ask which is the latest version of a document. Changes and edits made using cloud collaboration tools appear in real-time on the single version of the file that everyone is accessing. A system of alerts or notifications keeps everyone with access rights up to date. Joint working on documents in the cloud means less confusion and more collaboration.
Some people are creative in isolation – most find it easier to spark new thoughts in company. Regardless of physical location, in the cloud, all your collaborators are potentially together. Views, opinions, new information, and insights can be shared and discussed in real-time using comments, chat groups and video conferencing. Distance is no barrier to creative and productive conversations and meetings.
Collaboration is often better in the cloud
Even when people are separated, cloud-based collaboration tools encourage and facilitate better teamwork. Through their use, more than information is exchanged – much like a ‘traditional’ office-based team, people collaborating via the cloud can build a feeling of community and belonging, and stimulate creativity and productivity.
In today’s world, remote and virtual teams are rapidly becoming the norm – in fact, your competitive advantage may depend on it – and that’s only possible due to cloud collaboration.
If you want to know more about what cloud computing could do for your business, check out our cloud-based collaboration tools or give us a call on 1800 312 972 – we’re here to help.