Driving Business Collaboration with Cloud

By | September 4th, 2015

Being a bit of a techno geek, I love to find the newest and best tools, then learn and employ them to do my work more efficiently. These days I use many Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications on a regular basis. But I still remember back, now almost six years ago, when a colleague introduced me to Google Docs. I was completely blown away at how simple, and yet powerful, this new tool was for collaboration. I couldn’t believe that we could both be working in the same document, or spreadsheet, and not only were both our changes being saved to the Cloud, but we could even see each other making changes to the document in real-time, even though we were not in the same geographic/physical office.

Driving Collaboration with Cloud

Looking back, that first version of Google Docs—though powerful in many ways—was sorely lacking in others. But much has changed in those intervening six years. Today’s businesses require powerful and secure collaboration with not only internal teams, but also external business partners and other stakeholders. And many businesses have put the power of these Cloud tools to use. In fact, in a recent HBR Analytic Services Report, Cloud: Driving a Faster, More Connected Business, 72% of business individuals identified increased collaboration as a top benefit of Cloud. That’s not to say that business agility is not an important Cloud driver – it is, still up there at 71% according to the same report. In fact, Cloud these days is more about speed than it is about cost savings. There’s huge value in being able to cut the time between identifying a need for a new tool, and being able to deliver that tool to business users.

Gaining Control over Shadow IT

The report also highlights another interesting trend: the maturing and professionalizing of the use of the Cloud has brought enterprise IT back into the picture, playing a key role with line of business leaders. That’s not to say that “shadow IT” has evaporated; far from it. In fact, in a recent study conducted by Cisco, the typical firm has 15 to 22 times more cloud applications running in the workplace than have been authorized by the IT department. Still, the Cloud environment is much better today than it was in the early days. Many CIOs are now setting up Cloud governance boards to help rein in shadow IT while ensuring that end users have access to the tools that they need to do their job. CIOs are also setting up catalogs of approved Cloud services that users can select from to speed provisioning while maintaining security and performance standards.

Integrating Microsoft Office with the Cloud

Despite the wonderful array of Cloud applications to address both everyday and specialized needs, most office workers today still rely on and extensively use Microsoft Office tools for email, writing, data collection/analysis, and presentations. This presents a challenge: as businesses look to Cloud storage for improved collaboration and mobile access, how do you make sure that Office apps are seamlessly connected?

One answer is a robust Cloud storage and collaboration solutions from Box, as detailed in the white paper Box + Office 365: Collaboration That’s More Powerful, Productive and Secure. Box’s Cloud storage solution is actively vendor-agnostic, allowing businesses and employees to choose the best tools for the job and have them work seamlessly with Box.

Recognizing the ubiquity of Microsoft Office tools, Box now offers a series of integrations that simplify interacting between Box and Microsoft Office. Using a browser interface, Box users can create or open Office documents directly into Office Online—Microsoft’s browser-based versions of Word, Excel and PowerPoint—and save them back to Box, without using any Office applications installed on their computer. For those users with (or preferring) native Office applications, an easily installed helper app will open Box files directly into the appropriate Office app, and save the data back to Box once your done.

To learn more about the powerful combination of Box and Microsoft Office, download the white paper today.