Collaboration – living in the cloud

24 05 2010

Just a quick post today to extol the virtues of living in the cloud!

We’re fortunate enough to work with a lot of tech firms who just ‘get’ the value of the cloud and those clients not already using the cloud are quick to see the benefits when we show them mockups of what we can do with online collaborative software. We’re not dropping names or pushing any particular technology, rather outlining the general benefits of being able to us collaborative tools to bridge the lines between client, agency and customer; in our experience we’ve found that using these collaborative tools is a huge benefit to running a targeted speaking program, streamlining our processes and improving the service we deliver to clients.

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Cloud technology has advanced pretty quickly, and as the capabilities have grown we’ve found more and more uses. We began by keeping our client facing documents in the cloud, allowing us to update these in real time as well as our clients being able to make any alterations without needing to send multiple copies backward and forward. We’ve saved literally hundreds of man hours by just having one living document which we can keep bang up to date (saving periodic hard copies if necessary) and our clients can feedback into. This has varied from databases of events to evaluations of specific conferences and because they’re hosted in the cloud we know they’re instantly accessible when they’re needed, without us needing to raid our server and email a possibly out of date file to a client, never to be seen again. When running speaking campaigns for multiple clients this really helps us ensure everyone is completely up to date and has access to the most recent information, improving reporting and reducing admin.

As the technology has developed, we’ve increased our use beyond client reporting, concocting our own homebrew solutions and processes to automate aspects of speaking campaigns and help close the loop. Through the power of collaboration we are now able to create customer (conference organiser) facing resources, client facing resources and our own internal resources, all of which have separate access rights but can easily share information across each realm when necessary.

As the technology continues to evolve we can only imagine that the ability to innovate and create these useful tools will get easier and more commonplace, allowing previously tailormade software to be recreated inhouse and optimised to suit your business needs and goals. We’ve already created tailor-made solutions for managing conference speaking campaigns that only a few years ago would have cost a small fortune in development and programming with minimal investment beyond our time and creativity. While we appreciate many of you don’t have the time or the (somewhat geeky) skill set to create these tools in-house, this is where an external agency will be able to help you identify which tools will help you most and how to implement them most effectively.

So we’re curious to know – those of you with your head in the clouds; what are the main benefits you’ve found and where are the drawbacks? Those of you who haven’t yet dipped your toe; why not?


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