The other day I was asked about what I thought about the whole iCloud solution, and how all of a sudden it seems that everything is cloud-based, including consumer applications. iCloud isn’t the only version of this type of model, personally I use Dropbox to sync all my files, but this type of model is a great example of where cloud is going, and how enterprises should view cloud. Cloud is quickly becoming the basis of collaboration, and more and more it’s becoming incredibly important to streamlining how organizations function internally and externally. In other words, if you’re not using cloud for your sales and marketing departments at least, you’re missing one of the most important changes cloud has made to the business landscape.
Remember the cloud commercials where they show everything being accessible from any device? Well, this is how collaboration starts. The idea of having a single copy of a document that is accessible to anyone, yet can be updated from any source. For example, a marketing department can use a program such as SlideRocket to create a presentation. This document will live online, and sales reps all over the world can connect to this document live, and use it with their customers. In the back end, marketing can keep the slide decks updated, and create new ones for different campaigns. Sales reps can connect to these from any web browser, so no need to carry around bulky laptops. These can even done through a tablet or smartphone for on-the-fly presentations.
Now extend this thought to contracts, SOWs, training materials, any document or resource that could possibly of value to the organization. All accessible from any device anywhere in the world. That is the power of collaboration with cloud. You can even virtualize your PBX and have it mimic corporate phone extensions yet forward to any phone including VOIP and smartphone.
Cloud is not technology, it’s a way to change business processes and embrace new ways of thinking and doing business. Collaboration is just a small part of the overall picture, and when you think about it, it’s already a big part of how we do things today.