Transferring Your Existing Documents To The Cloud

googledocs-tips-379x243So you’ve decided to move your entire office operations online? Great! Thats one of the best decisions you can make personally and professionally. There are a  number of benefits that having all of your working documents on the cloud has: Access to information anywhere, automatic backups, and collaborative working to name a few.

Once you have everything up and running it should be smooth sailing working online full time. However, for those users who have a tons of documents, files, and spreadsheets that they want to transfer online, there is some upfront work that needs to be done. But the good news is that after this little hiccup you’ll be set for life, and the time & money savings over the long run will outweigh any inconvenience that transferring causes.

The most likely situation is that you’ve got a ton of files sitting on a local hard drive and want them loaded to the cloud. You’ll want to go through these files and find the ones that need transferring, this is a good time to ‘clean house’ of anything that is keeping your file management unorganized. Moving everything online can be a fresh start to your file management, so you don’t want to take along all the baggage that has been weighing down your potential for organization.

Once you’ve curated your content, and hopefully trimmed it down a good ways, its time to get it online and start working. For the average user we recommend Google Docs, which is a free Office 2.0 resource put out by Google. This is the most popular office suite online due to its price (free), accessibility, ease of use, and collaborative tools. You can easily work with the file types that your familiar with, be that Word Documents, Power Point presentations, or even Excel workbooks. These files can be viewed and edited within the browser using Google Docs applications. There are personal and business versions, with the latter having extended features to help small businesses collaborate between remote employees.

To get started with Docs all you need is a GMail account, which provides you access to Docs. From here you can start uploading files and getting to work. The easiest method for file upload is the most straight forward: Simply hit the ‘Upload’ button that is located on the left menu panel within the interface.

You’ll be prompted to browse to the files you want to upload, or you can drag and drop the files into the browser window. These files will be added to the Docs file system in the same folder structure as they were uploaded. Test that everything worked by clicking on each file. The contents of is should be shown in a preview window. From here, if you want to edit the file all you need to do is click on the filename itself, and the browser will redirect to an editing window.

From here you can start sharing files among other users, all the need is their own GMail account. To do this just right click on any file or folder in the menu system and hit ‘Share’. You’ll be prompted to enter email addresses of those you want to be able to edit the document.

 

How Small Businesses Benefit From Office 2.0

testMeOne of the most important things to take care of when starting up a business is keeping detailed records. Everything from expenses, invoices, contracts, and contacts needs to be meticulously tracked. It is easy for a lot of small businesses to fall off when it comes to this sort of organization, often times there efforts are only geared towards one thing: making sales. But its all this overhead that usually comes back to bite owners when tax time comes around and they’re searching high and low for that one invoice that they need to fill out their papers correctly.

There are two reasons small businesses usually tend to forgo the software the could help them with this organization: price and expertise. Small businesses tend to be bootstrapped operations, where owners are funding the business out of their pocket or through a small loan. In either case money is usually pretty tight, and they may not be able to afford a office suite package in their budget. Or maybe they do own some basic office tools but don’t have any formal training in it, so its too cumbersome and time consuming for them to get everything right.

Office 2.0 solutions can help small businesses when it comes to this because they overcome these two biggest hurdles. Price is solved because most office 2.0 packages are completely free. We just detailed what google has to offer, and there are plenty more just like it, all for the price of zero dollars. Expertise take a little more work but it is a lot more obtainable in office 2.0 because there is a huge amount of documentation online about how to use their various features. It is just a few mouse clicks to find downloadable tutorials or youtube videos describing exactly how to format documents, create spreadsheets, or send invoices.

We asked our podcast audience if there was any small business owners who fully rely on office 2.0 tools to conduct every aspect of their business, and we got a huge number of responses! We emailed back one listener to get the full details that we’ll share here.

This listener runs her own online boutique targeting nursing mothers and has a steady flow of visitors to her website. What she needed out of an office suite was something that allows her to keep track of monthly expenses, write up invoices, and do some basic word processing. She has settled on a few different tools that help her accomplish all this.

To keep track of expenses she uses Freshbooks which is a one stop shop for online accounting needs. From here she is able to simply input her expenses and revenue on a month by month basis. Their simple interface is easy to understand and also has a mobile version that allows her to check in on things from her smart phone. Monthly and yearly revenue reports can be saved out and are perfect for when tax season comes around. The listener says that she previously tried to keep track of everything in just a excel spreadsheet but things got a little too complicated, and making the switch to Freshbooks saves her time and worry. Freshbooks also allows her to create formatted invoices to send out to clients.

For word processing she uses google drive to make simple documents. She often uses this to write out blog articles before posting them to her website. The collaborative writing with multiple users allows her to work on documents with her freelance writers that she employs.

 

 

A Closer Look At Google’s Online Offerings

filesIf you’re looking to transition your office tasks to an online solution on of the top solutions is Google. Their offerings started with email but have now expanded to different products that make up an entire office suite. And the best part about all of them is that they’re free for everyone. We’ll give you the run down on the essential items in their Office 2.0 bundle.

Email – Or should we say G-mail. Gmail is easily the most popular email service there is. Ask anyone what their email address is and it most likely ends in ‘@gmail.com’. Their email interface is easy to use and has enough storage to last a life time. There are filters, contact lists, and chat features. What makes gmail important though is that it makes up the account that will be able to access all of Google’s other tools. So think wisely about a user handle, because its going to be used a lot of different places.

Cloud Storage – Google Drive is an easy way to back up files and transfer them between local machines. Drive is Google’s solution to Dropbox, and other cloud storage software, which allows users and easy way to get their files online. When a file is uploaded you can access it from anywhere from an internet enabled device. You can also send links to the file to other people so they can download it locally. Or, if those people have gmail accounts, you can share the file with them and give them limited access to your Google Drive account. Drive logs your activity online and shows when new files were created or updated, which is great for version controlling different files. There is limited disk space that is offered but users can sign up for premium accounts if they start running out.

Word Processing – The Google Drive word processor is great for collaborative working because it allows multiple users to be working on a single document at the same time. User’s edits are shown in real time and their names are shown in the upper corner to let you know who else is in the document with you. Their cursor is shown as they navigate through the lines of the document. I’d say that the word processor is plenty capable of your basic needs, but lacks the more detailed options for formatting and outputs that Microsoft Word has. Things like setting margins, breakpoints, and layout can be a little cumbersome to figure out. Still though, for basic processing needs it is amazing.

Google Hangouts – This isn’t part of an Office suite per se, but I include it here because it’s a tool that allows for communication and collaboration that remote workers are in need of. Hangouts can be used as either a chat client or a teleconference and videoconference tool. Multiple users can be included in a single ‘hangout’, that is a session where everyone is talking to each other. During a video conference all the users in the hangout are shown in their individual camera windows. There is a larger window that switches to whichever person is talking at the moment.

Presentations – Google has their own Power Point clone that lets users set up slideshows for presentations. The options here are limited when compared to PP but if you’re not a power user it should be enough to get by.

So with all this said what really matters is seeing if this is a practical Office 2.0 solution. I recently spoke to a blogger who organizes the logistics of his ecommerce website completely through Google’s tools. He told me that he is able to talk to wholesalers through hangouts and the the process is very easy. He also collaborates with freelance writers who provide content to him using Drive. He simply tells them what he wants and they upload the files to a shared account. His latest venture is concentrated on specific products that requires him to catalog supplies in a spreadsheet that google provides. He says that the experience is great because he can log into his file from anywhere through his smart phone.