We can build our own private cloud for collaboration using LANs, virtualization, remote access with Remote Desktop Services, Citrix XenApp or XenDesktop or VMware View. Or, we can choose to use hosted or SaaS services from other providers. If we pick and choose, or use a hybrid model, we can select the applications that make the most sense to us and solve our client’s problems. On-premise, hosted, SaaS or Hybrid – all the models are being updated for collaboration.
What Are Some Examples of Mobile Collaboration?
Software publishers and hardware manufacturers have created products for the mobile user that enable collaboration. Most of the time these have been built with a purpose in mind, but sometimes the creation was accidental. Now that the mobile vision is pretty firmly established, vendors are creating products to meet needs that they discover and solve.
A few examples of products that are doing collaboration effectively today with documents and workflow include: AccountantsWorld CyberCabinet, Bill.com, Concur, Microsoft Office 365, ShareFile, SmartVault, XCM, and Zoho. Other products that are enabling collaborative accounting include: Accounting Relief, Aplos, Freshbooks, Intacct, Intuit QuickBooks Online, FinancialForce, Less Accounting, NetSuite, SAP Business By Design, Wave, and Xero.
You may note that all of the products cited above are Software as a Service because they are easy to mobilize, whether through a browser or with a native app on a smartphone or tablet. The publishers can be more responsive to needs because of their deployment model with centralized computers providing the computational horsepower and storage. If they see the need for a management approval, such as a payment in Bill.com or a sign-off in XCM, they can create this in their software allowing the user to do so conveniently from a mobile device.
Microsoft has notably stepped up their game with the release of Windows 8, improvements in Office 2013, Office 365, and in SkyDrive. The way that documents integrate seamlessly between local storage, cloud storage and can be edited with the same tools has made collaboration from one or more locations much more convenient.
Google has been on this same path for almost 10 years, Zoho has been building collaborative applications for 16 years and the efforts of these large publishers are starting to pay off in collaborative productivity software.
It is clear that the major software publishers are rethinking their capabilities and how do to deliver mobile solutions. We have seen new management applications from CCH, Thomson, Intuit and Sage in 2012 to enable management review and decisions on mobile devices.
Users and software engineers have not had the hardware tools to enable the mobile user for very long. The progress in three years in tablets, 10 years in smartphones and 14 years in SaaS products is remarkable.
However, the real business applications are just starting to arrive in volume and the choices in the years ahead promise to be even stronger than our choices today. Determine what would serve your mobile workers well today, and begin the process of learning how to take advantage of mobile technology.