Today few of us could manage for long at work without e-mails, socially they are useful but in business they are, for even the smallest businesses, essential. E-Mails revolutionized the way we work: it changed how we share information including the volume, how often and how quickly and it sped up the entire world economy in the process. Now the world economy needs speeding up again and cloud computing could be as big as e-mail and take the dissemination of data and information even further.
E-mail was more than just about communication like post was and still is, it was often about collaboration, about conversations and discussions that were impractical by post. What cloud computing does is allow people to communicate and collaborate in new ways on documents that instead of being owned by one person in a company are truly collaborative documents: this is a positive thing in the majority of cases.
Cloud computing doesn’t stop at collaboration across one site either, which has been possible to some extent with a well setup network for some time. Cloud computing allows collaboration across many sites in many states or countries and across different organizations so that customers, contractors and others can be bought in to work together in a seamless way. IBM’s Lotus offering led the way with collaborative software for local and wider networks and now Lotuslive is IBMs main cloud computing offering.
Retailing is one business where a company may not have a few main offices but dozens, hundreds or even thousands of sites around the world, as in the case of a company like McDonalds. How do retailers share documents efficiently? Well many don’t, e-mails often get lost and few people use send receipts; memos that should be printed and circulated get missed by a lot of people and others may miss what the action they need to take is. Lotuslive is designed to allow for documents to easily be available to all and for tracking of who has read, edited and even printed documents to be possible.
Russell’s Convenience are one such retailer that have used Lotuslive; on one project in particular Lotuslive ensured that things went smoothly and that communication was simple and seamless. Approval was important for Russell’s Convenience’s refit of a Los Angeles store, waiting for confirmations by e-mail could have wasted valuable time: especially if approvals were not sent, didn’t get though or were sent in error or by the wrong people.
Russell’s Convenience also found that the fluidity of the Lotuslive system bought it far beyond e-mail and e-mail attachments. It is possible with Lotuslive to have many people working on a document at once; you can be making changes and then if someone wants to check it at any point they can see the latest version not the attachment that you sent through to them some hours ago. With Lotuslive in fact it is impossible to end up in the situation which in the past was all too common where there could be two at least and often a dozen or more different versions of a file all with some changes that need to be included: merging these could often take hours and still some changes could be lost thereby delaying projects: a problem that Russell’s Convenience didn’t suffer from, meaning there refit was done in the minimum time.