The concept of sharing information and ideas at anytime from anywhere has been long sought after by businesses. To effectively grow, companies must continually innovate their processes and products to maintain competitive advantage. Internal and external collaboration is a critical component of product innovation, process improvement and a healthy environment for organic growth.
When cloud technology was developed for commercial use, many saw it as the next revolutionary innovation in how we could communicate with one another. They were right. Today, businesses are migrating their IT environment into The Cloud at an extraordinary rate. Tools for faster and more secure migrations have been developed to make the transition seamless for IT departments. The benefits of migration to The Cloud are many, and for the concept of sharing information at anytime from anywhere is now a reality. Businesses can now share large files through The Cloud quickly and securely with prospects, partners and employees. What if just sharing documents wasn’t enough? What if you wanted to meet with a colleague or customer to go over intimate details about a project, even though they were hundreds of miles away?
The Cloud has adopted video conferencing and hosted voice solutions into its already robust capabilities. Below are several industry leading top Cloud based collaboration platforms and what solutions they can offer.
Cisco’s all-in-one app-centric, cloud based platform in Cisco Spark offers an exciting array of features. Spark Messaging enable users to easily exchange messages and files to another user or a group of users. Spark Meetings give users the ability to create, communicate and collaborate in one continuous workstream across mobile or video devices. Spark Calling enables users to make calls to other Cisco Spark users via SIP dialing, as well as calling regular landline and mobile phones via the PSTN.
Cisco Spark also offers hybrid services. These are a set of services that connect on-premise services and Cisco Hosted Collaboration Solution to Cisco Spark.
- Hybrid Call Serviceconnects Cisco Unified Communications Manager, Business Edition 6000 and 7000, and HCS with Cisco Spark for a single integrated user experience. It makes Cisco Spark aware of all calls across the unified communications system and connects them so they work together. Capabilities include instant desktop sharing, ability to use the Cisco Spark app. on any personal device, integrated call history between the mobile device and any Cisco Spark registered phone, and desk phone control, among others.
- Hybrid Calendar Serviceconnects Microsoft Exchange/Outlook to Cisco Spark to provide two important features. First, adding “@Spark” to an Outlook meeting invite will automatically create a Cisco Spark space with all meeting invitees for pre- and post-meeting information and document sharing. Second, adding “@webex” to an Outlook meeting invite will automatically schedule a Cisco WebEx®
- Hybrid Directory Serviceconnects Active Directory to Cisco Spark and enables users to see all company contacts from the People tab in the Cisco Spark app. so that they can click to message, meet, or call.
- Hybrid Media Serviceprovides a local instance of media processing for Cisco Spark Meetings on the customer premises. It lowers latency for better user experiences and provides savings on Internet bandwidth requirements and costs.
Ring Central’s collaboration platform provides a robust offering to businesses of all sizes. Ring Central Meetings enable users to meet up to 200 people in a single conference and hold unlimited HD video calls. It also gives users the ability to schedule online meetings from Microsoft Outlook and integrates with other cloud services such as Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, and One Drive. Ring Central Rooms integrates with your existing video conferencing set up to avoid costly proprietary endpoints and complicated configurations. Users can manage camera zoom/tilt, microphone volume, scheduling and meeting participation. Ring Central Webinars offers users the ability to host up to 3,000 attendees along with email invitations, confirmations and follow ups. Users can customize the registration form to promote their branding and social media pages. Surveys, polls and other analytical tools to measure engagement and help nurture leads are also available through Ring Central Webinars.
Microsoft Office 365
Microsoft Office 365 cloud based collaboration platform offers users an array of tools to share files and communicate on changes that have been made to those files. Office 365 gives users access to the entire Office suite of programs (Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Publisher, etc.). Files can be saved locally on the device or they can be saved simultaneously in SharePoint or OneDrive. With one click users can invite users to have access to files on SharePoint and OneDrive, and with the granted permissions they can also share their files in the same folder. In SharePoint, users can build multiple sites for different business segments to gain access to resources. Simply upload the documents to be included on a particular site or include links to folders that are already existing on SharePoint. Skype For Business is also a part of the Office 365 package, offering users a secure way to initiate online meetings through audio and video conferencing collaboration.
Microsoft is also integrating Teams within Office 365 to bring in all your team’s chats, meetings, files and applications into a single pane of glass. This offers users more transparency into what others have been working on, how they have been proceeding with their projects and collaborate on next steps to complete those projects. Microsoft Teams integrate with other cloud based programs such as Hootsuite, Wrike, Trello, Zendesk and Visual Studio to name a few.
The need to collaborate anytime, anywhere has become a reality with The Cloud. New innovations and platforms are being developed to allow users to easily share and communicate. Businesses that have adopted Cloud Collaboration have quickly seen enhancement in work quality, decreasing project timelines, increasing efficiencies and a growing Return of Investment. Breaking down the barriers of communication will allow businesses to adapt to a changing market, innovate process and products, and continue to grow in an ever-growing competitive world.
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