Tech startups have been early adopters of productivity apps like Evernote, Slack, Google Drive, Trello. The way in which they’ve spread the word, as the vanguard about the future of work, have been documented. It’s the adoption of tools and new methodologies that allowed them to move quickly, and not worry about digital transformation and the transition from legacy systems; and the subsequent change management of people.
The reason the above mentioned apps are favoured is because… they were first to crack their purpose ; usage scaled, and users bought into the vision. As SaaS platforms they made it easy for users to login and manage across operating devices and platforms, with the ability to scale.
However, they’ve not always been able to consolidate or integrate seamlessly with other ‘legacy’ platforms (hence the rise of Zapier) for cross-purpose and projects needs. For instance – email to chat ( Gchat failed, & Slack didn’t crack video chat). Trello have plugins to Slack, but not all Users use it, or understand the functionality of it…
Microsoft’s Vision for work
This is where Microsoft is playing the long game with MS Office365 and sees a gap, to consolidate and eventually move all 365 users into, at least a Hybrid Cloud. For a seamless cross platform experience, using terminologies people know – think of File, Edit, View, Tools, Insert.
With MS Teams – they’re reaching an end goal – with even more real-time/multiplayer edit capabilities; for better collaboration – sharing of files, instant saving, and plus cross platform integrations with software suites like Adobe. More open API’s will be made available soon.
In SA, the latest announcement around the hosting and migration of 365 Office, to local data centres, (and Core data of Sharepoint, Exchange & OneDrive)…allows; not only for a faster experience in MS Teams, but can now integrate with VoiP for call and video meetings, or to setup their PBX systems.
Buying into Cloud as the Future, and SaaS, what else should SMEs consider?
Small Businesses and Startups can be allocated faster than any on-site resources can many times over. Take for instance getting a new Sales team on board, who requires onboarding with the aim to get them up and running asap. Setting up their Services from CRM, Email, Teams, and Sales Collateral, can now be done within minutes; and the dynamically changing nature of Agile teams and the remote force, enables management – to plan for such a move more accurately.
With a growing remote workforce,Own Devices, adds to security risks ; which can be better mitigated from the cloud through multi-step verification.
Also, SMEs with private Customer Data records now have more piece of mind, knowing the record of truth will now be stored locally, adhering to more stringent data protection policies ( GDPR/POPI).
Small Business owners are in the enviable position that software has become more user friendly, even for the non-technical execs. Hardware setups and technical support is another matter, and still requires dedicated expertise. The cloud takes care of this, where the installation of new servers and configuring them don’t require a full or even part time IT person, but comes with a checklist, and is taken care of in the back-ground.
Starting out is easier than growing and scaling a team, and adopting a new way of work. The cost to try out different software and SaaS tools are low compared to before. It’s the transition from onsite to the cloud and the risk involved, that have many burying their heads in the sand, until another lunar moon passes. Stalling to migrate is costly.