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14 May 2017

6 Document Collaboration Methods…Compared

2017-05-16T17:01:44+00:00 May 14th, 2017|Collaboration, Email, Knowledge Management|Comments Off on 6 Document Collaboration Methods…Compared

Do you collaborate on documents with co-workers? I.e., do you edit the same doc or file (I use “docs” and “files” interchangeably herein) with one or more people sometimes?

Duh, who doesn’t, right?

Unless your company has strict policies, you probably have some options on how you share documents. You could use browser-based apps like Google Docs or Microsoft OfficeOnline. Or you could email file attachments around.

(I can’t believe I’m still writing about email file attachments for doc collab; but alas, status quo is hard to change.)

Different users have different preferences and different needs. Some are power spreadsheet users. Some don’t need every word processing bell and whistle. Some are always online when they work. Some travel. Even each individual user may even have different needs at different times.

Unfortunately, though, there’s no perfect way to collaborate on docs (yet), so I attempt herein to qualitatively (as objectively as I can) compare the six main ways you can edit a doc and share it with others to review and/or edit. You may use one method primarily, or you may use different methods depending on your current situation. Hopefully, this will help ensure you know your options and the impact to you and others.

Doc Collab Methods

First, let’s look at the 6 primary doc collaboration methods. The typical scenarios include desktop productivity apps (e.g., word processing, spreadsheets, presentations via Google Docs or Microsoft Office) and cloud storage providers (e.g., Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft Onedrive). But these concepts can apply more broadly to most apps and cloud storage.

Considerations

Next, let’s look at the main trade-offs when considering each collaboration method.

6 Collaborative Document Editing Methods

Bottom Line

Unfortunately, there’s no perfect solution for all people in all situations.

If you don’t need the advanced capabilities available in the desktop app, and you don’t need the ability to edit offline, using the Web App version is usually a great solution.  Keep in mind, however, the context of “you.”  For example, and individual may only use 20% of a mature application’s (e.g., MS Excel) capabilities, but if different individuals use different 20%s, then the organization may need to enable the choice of using the desktop application.

Email is clearly not optimal for document collaboration or co-editing.  However, it’s probably still the most common method.  This has to do with many factors including status quo (effort to change habits), flexible enough to cover every edge use case, possibly slightly easier for the individual at greater expense to the group (a topic for behavioral economics).

Selection of other methods that allow use of desktop app still requires consideration of the situation.  If it’s unlikely that lots of edits to the same doc will happen at the same time, and the overall storage requirements are not large, then automatic sync is easy and convenient.  However, in many organizations, the doc library can get too big to store on everyone’s PC (not to mention security concerns), so auto sync (without elaborate selective sync efforts) may be impractical.

I did not get into security here, as there are lots of variables.  For example, editing a doc from a public kiosk is always risky, and each editing method has its own risks.  Obviously, any time you’re storing a local copy of a file, there’s a possibility that someone else may get to it.  Even the auto upload options inevitably are saving at least a temporary local copy of the file; who knows if proper housecleaning is being done.  And even browser apps cache data locally, so beware of editing docs on insecure PCs.

The good news is there are better doc collaboration options than email.  The bad news is there’s no perfect solution.  It’s easy to stick with the status quo, but if they really thought about the costs to team productivity or of making bad decisions, more teams and companies would proactively move to non-email doc collaboration alternatives as quickly as possible.

10 Sep 2015

Collaboration – 3 Steps for selecting the right tools

2017-05-16T17:04:17+00:00 September 10th, 2015|Collaboration|Comments Off on Collaboration – 3 Steps for selecting the right tools

I often get asked for recommendations for team collaboration tools.  The advice I give seems overly simplistic to me, but since I get enough compliments about it, I’ll share it here.

I could expound ad nausea on this topic, but I’ll attempt to be brief and offer 3 key steps in selecting a tool or tools:

There’s a plethora of options, most of which overlap (but few play well together), which unfortunately makes things more complicated.

3 Steps to Selecting Collaboration Tools

Objectives

First, determine what problem(s) you’re trying to solve.  Do you want to improve communications between engineering and marketing?  Perhaps you need a better way for new employees to find internal answers more quickly.  Or maybe you need better ways to communicate across geographies and time zones, but everyone’s email is overflowing.

Put Stakes in the Ground

Next, think of the givens that you can’t change.  For example, perhaps your company management uses PowerPoint religiously for presentations and finance folks use Excel.  If the engineers use Google docs, then you may have to think about whether you need to use both, or which constituents could more easily switch over.  The choice of desktop productivity tools could have a real impact on what collaboration tools you use.  And if knowledge management is a goal, consolidating formats and repositories will make it easier to build an knowledge repository.

Take Small Steps

Then, take small steps.  Don’t rush out and sign-up for a whole bunch of tools because you think you’ll need one in each category.  For example, if you solve doc collaboration, then you may find it better to use a shared spreadsheet for task management than a dedicated and unintegrated point solution.

Then, you can start to narrow down choices. They all have pros & cons, and everyone will have subjective preferences.

For example, at WaveMaker, we needed to solve geo and time zone spread of team and we use MS Office for most of our docs. Thus, we went with Yammer (as better tool than email) but it’s weak for doc collaboration, so we also use online SharePoint (because MS Office doc collab is key and Yammer is now owned by Microsoft, even though still poorly integrated). We use Salesforce.com for CRM, but found Chatter also lacking at doc collab, which was more important to us than CRM integration.

And when you move to a cloud storage solution, here’s a comparison of main methods for cloud doc collaboration.

10 Sep 2015

10 Reasons Why You Should Not Upgrade To Windows 10

2017-05-16T17:17:44+00:00 September 10th, 2015|New Technology|Comments Off on 10 Reasons Why You Should Not Upgrade To Windows 10

After upgrading to Windows 10, I discovered a bunch of shortcomings…

10. OneDrive placeholders no longer supported.  What?  How do you now use that 1 TB cloud storage you planned on using as virtual storage for your MS Surface?

9. Search in Windows 10 Start is slower

8. Battery system tray icon no longer lets you switch power plans.  It’s now embedded several clicks in the UI.

7. All of a sudden, my monitor overscanning stopped working.

6. If you set OneDrive to not start upon Windows 10 startup, good luck figuring out how to start OneDrive manually (hint: look for OneDrive.exe in Programs)

5. Edge is Win 10’s new browser, but it doesn’t support all SharePoint capabilities like “Open with Explorer”, and guess what…you can’t install another IE version (clever IE download site confirms you already have the latest version)!

4. OneDrive folder selection won’t let you proceed unless it thinks you have enough free disk space, even though existing disk space is used by previously-synced OneDrive files.

3. Media Center is gone from Windows 10.  No longer available.

2. Mounted VHD in Windows 10 keeps randomly unmounting (worked for years with Win 7 – 8.1), and then OneDrive cannot complete synching if the mounted drive is not available long enough.

 

And the #1 reason why I should not have upgraded to Windows 10 is….

1. Where’s the benefit?  I see zero advantages over Windows 8.1, only regression.

 

The good news (if you upgraded) is that you do have 30 days to revert back to previous version of Windows (7-8.1).  Click on Start > Settings > Update & Security > Recovery > Go back to Windows xx.

10 Sep 2014

Apple “iWatch”

2017-05-16T17:35:57+00:00 September 10th, 2014|New Technology|Comments Off on Apple “iWatch”


It’s hard to know with what to be more impressed — the watch, the technology, the design, the demo video, even the product videography that went into the video is amazing.  Apple still has it after Jobs — albeit, clearly, this product has been in development for years.  What I find myself wondering, is how many things will this disrupt?  I cringe for watchmakers (which have taken a beating from smartphones already) and fitness specialty watches.   Will this cannibalize, a bit, even smart phone usage?  With payment, what will I do with my Coin, which I haven’t even received yet, let alone the phone payment options?  Although…you still need an iPhone to use this iWatch.  “Unfortunately”, I have an Android device, so I find myself wondering, who will/could develop a device even close this cool?  Samsung?  HTC?  Well, maybe some cobbled subset given enough time.  Until then, I live with my Ironman and Tissot trusted timepieces, (who uses those anymore?)   The “iWatch” looks pretty cool, but I did buy an Apple Newton back in the 90’s.  We’ll see.

10 Sep 2014

Webcast: Docker aPaaS for Enterprise Innovation: Are You Ready?

2017-05-16T17:34:14+00:00 September 10th, 2014|DevOps, Docker|Comments Off on Webcast: Docker aPaaS for Enterprise Innovation: Are You Ready?

 

Docker aPaaS for Enterprise Innovation Here’s a link to the webcast I did on BrightTalk this morning.  Docker is hot. APIs are ubiquitous. aPaaS is finally gaining momentum. And Enterprises are facing increasing business challenges and complexity. How can these trends and technologies help? How does RAADD (Rapid API Application Development and Deployment) foster innovation and agility? How does Docker and Containerization really help optimize app workloads? Find out with Samir Ghosh, CEO of WaveMaker, as he gives you the end-to-end view of Docker aPaaS and talks about steps companies can take to effectively prepare for and leverage these trends and technologies.  I hope you’ll give it a high rating on BrightTalk if you like it.  Thanks!