So, last week I did a presentation on Cloud services for the AEC community and why it’s so important. It turned out to be one of the largest presentations I’ve ever given. (The recording is here if you want to take a look). What surprised me wasn’t the number of folks that turned out, but the followup discussions and questions that centered around what “The Cloud” really is, particularly as it related to design and construction firms. This was a question I thought had been answered years ago, and that everyone knew exactly what “The Cloud” was. Apparently, I was wrong. A lot of the people I spoke with knew, in general terms, what Cloud computing was but they all seemed to believe it was something for their IT Group – a way of “hosting servers” out in space somewhere. People were genuinely surprised at how much of my presentation, and followup, focused on their end users and company day-to-day productivity.
I think that the tech world can be elitist sometimes. We get so caught up in our own technical jargon and glorified marketing speech that we can forget to translate it down to normal English. Buzz words like “Cloud Integration – Collaborative Processes – The Internet of Things” and a hundred others, don’t mean much to regular people who are just looking for the best way to get their work done. I realized that it falls to guys like me, who have both a design and a tech background, to bridge that gap and make concepts like The Cloud, understandable to regular folks. So, with that in mind, let me break the real power of Cloud Solutions down for you . . . after all, that’s part of what ZenTek does: we’re a Microsoft Cloud Solutions Provider!
For those of us in the AEC world, the true benefit of working in the Cloud doesn’t have anything to do with servers or security, it has to do with file access. You’re in the field, working from home, in another office, at a client meeting . . . it doesn’t matter. You need access to all the project files, at all times. The Cloud gives you that. Some of us have laptops, some only smart phones, and some work off tablets. We need to be able to work on our files, no matter what device we’re using, and still keep them secure. The Cloud does that too! The simple entry point for most AEC firms into Cloud Computing is with Microsoft OneDrive for Business. It’s a simple file-sharing system that lets you keep all your files accessible from anywhere, while still letting your people work the way they always have, in Windows Explorer, on their own local drive. They just save files locally, and OneDrive syncs them back to the Cloud, then syncs the Cloud to every system throughout the company. Your users get all the access you want, without changing anything about the way they currently work. Too easy, right? OneDrive also lets them open and edit all MS Office documents in any browser, so they can access from any device, anywhere, at any time.
The other huge benefit of The Cloud is that you’ll never again have to worry about downtime, or losing files. If you think about all the businesses recently devastated by Hurricane Harvey, you’ll realize that every company needs to move to The Cloud immediately. Many of those firms lost systems, servers and all the backups of their data in just a few hours. Estimates say that 60% or more of those companies will never re-open their doors, and that’s a tragedy. If they have Cloud systems though, they didn’t lose anything. All that data is replicated to multiple server farms around the world, in real-time. Even while their offices may be gone, their data is still viable and their staff can continue working from home, or anywhere else they can get internet access.
That’s the real Cloud, folks. It’s not a tool for IT folks, it’s a must have feature for every single business out there. Want to know more about getting your firm securely onto the Cloud? Just reach out to ZenTek.