Click here to close now.



Welcome!

Agile Computing Authors: Liz McMillan, Sanjay Zalavadia, Xenia von Wedel, Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White

Related Topics: @CloudExpo

@CloudExpo: Article

Cloud Computing Turns Virtual Teams Into a Competitive Advantage

Collaboration in the cloud will fundamentally change the business ecosystem

By turning to a cloud-based collaboration solution from PBwiki, Mayes was able to create an online training and educational resource, with information ranging from web links to official documents, and the ability for loan officers to use a search engine to find what they needed.

Mayes reports that the wiki saves each of the underwriters about 30-45 minutes per day, and it has saved significant amounts of time for the rest of the employees when it comes to finding documents, passwords, and other information.

Moreover, the cost of the hosted collaboration solution is a fraction of the cost of the previous shared server.

"Our underwriters use the wiki to educate the loan officers," said Mayes. "Any time something changes, they post the new information to the wiki. Now the watchword in the office is, 'Did you check the wiki?'

2. Cut Down on Travel
Resilient Technologies of Wausau, Wisconsin, was working with Frank Rath of the University of Wisconsin to develop a special airless tire for Humvees in Iraq. By collaborating with the university, Resilient was able to tap into leading polymer scientists and mechanical engineers to conduct cutting-edge R&D.

The problem was that Resilient Technologies is about 120 miles and a two-hour drive from the university's campus in Madison. To make matters worse, one of the key members of the Resilience team was based in West Virginia, nearly 1,000 miles away.

The team tried out a cloud-based solution from PBwiki, and soon the entire project team was on it, including 12 people from Resilient, five polymer scientists, and three mechanical engineers. This allowed the team to cut down on time-consuming and costly travel.

In previous projects, Resilient and the university had used email and file attachments, with mixed results. "It takes so much time to find the right documents," said Frank. "There are so many different iterations and modifications to track, especially when it comes to spreadsheets."

"PBwiki eliminates confusion, duplication, and the potential for errors," said Rath. "It's a simple and easy-to-use platform that lets us coordinate and execute critical projects."

3. Enable Outsourcing and Offshoring
Wideload Games is a maker of edgy, humorous, and quirky video games like "Hail to the Chimp" and "Stubbs the Zombie." To successfully compete with giant studios like Electronic Arts and Activision, this largely virtual company uses a highly distributed development model. While headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, the independent contractors who form the development team for their video games reside across the globe in South Korea, Canada, South America, China, and the U.S.

While Wideload adopted its virtual model before cloud-based collaboration was available, adding hosted collaboration brought its operations to a new level of productivity. PBwiki was brought in to eliminate the confusion of distributing documents and production work via email. It acts as a centralized repository in the cloud of all the materials being developed for a video game that can be accessed from anywhere in the world.

With PBwiki, the development team has a public archive of the development process. Everyone is on the same page and new people can quickly come up to speed as they enter a project. Collaboration in the cloud even aids the creative process. Jon says that "brainstorming wikis" can be easily and quickly set up and as the ideas mature through an iterative process, "stuff that needs to stick" has a permanent home together with a history of how it came to be.

4. Improve Knowledge Worker Productivity
The Groop is one of the hottest design firms in Los Angeles, with clients as diverse as Nike, the Los Angeles Times, and America's best restaurant, the French Laundry. To keep up with new business, the company has grown to 30 employees and 50 contractors. With all those contractors, and because The Groop relies on the Scrum methodology for project management (derived from the agile software development movement), group communication and collaboration is mission-critical. The email-based approach which worked for a five-person boutique was unmanageable for an 80-person firm.

"The email trails were getting over the top," said Summer Swigart, Lead Software Engineer for The Groop. "To get an RFP out, three departments have to collaborate: technology, design, and strategy. We were uploading files to the extranet and emailing, ‘Hey, can you review this?' People were starting to ignore and lose important emails."

The Groop uses PBwiki for project management, corporate training, and to document best practices. For example, The Groop created an "LA Phil" folder to manage a building project, a tribute to outgoing Los Angeles Philharmonic conductor Esa Pekka Salonen. The Groop's project folder includes a custom project board, complete with virtual tacks and index cards (implemented via a custom template), and offers read-only access to vendors and contractors so that they can participate in the daily scrum without compromising any of the other information in the workspace.

Another key usage is determining and publishing development standards. "We have a lot of developers who are contractors," said Swigart. "We publish all of our coding standards on the wiki. That way, when something goes wrong, we can just point to our standards rather than saying, ‘Why did you do it that way? It's broken!'"

The impact of collaboration is measurable and dramatic. "It's increased information flow and brought down overhead, giving us more time for billable work. Our users spend more time on billable projects as opposed to asking, ‘Where's the project?' or ‘How do I connect to the Internet?' We're getting $1 million per year in additional productivity."

Where Do We Go from Here?
The future lies with companies like RMC Vanguard, Resilience, Wideload Games, and The Groop that are taking advantage of cloud collaboration to do more with less and turn virtual teams into a competitive advantage. It's no coincidence that these companies are doing well, even in a bad economy. While bad times hurt everyone, those who are most adept at doing more with less are likely to capture a bigger share of a shrinking pie, as customers and clients seek lower cost, higher value solutions.

If you are a small company, consider using collaboration in the cloud to enhance your ability to compete with established players. You can use contractors, partners, and other virtual corporation strategies to broaden your capabilities while retaining your advantages in cost and flexibility.

If you're inside a larger enterprise, you can use collaboration in the cloud to compete with lean, nimble startups, or to better coordinate across different groups, offices, and divisions.

Either way, collaboration in the cloud is the future of business.

More Stories By Chris Yeh

Chris Yeh is Vice President of Enterprise Marketing, PBwiki.

Comments (2) View Comments

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Most Recent Comments
shirley 12/12/08 01:05:06 AM EST

We can assist here as we specialize in developing and implementing SharePoint 2007 – that’s all we do.

There is more information on this at http://www.nsynergy.com/Services/Pages/default.aspx or mail to [email protected].

FastRoundTrip 12/11/08 01:30:37 PM EST

Well put. Collaboration is definitly the future of surviving and thriving business. And not just for asynchronous collab, on the real-time side, there's a lot of excitement too. For example, http://see.nefsis.com uses true cloud computing to reduce latency in desktop sharing and live multiparty video. Cloud computing makes a fundamental improvement in roundtrip latency here, unobtainable by single-server and centralized technologies.

@ThingsExpo Stories
Cloud Expo, Inc. has announced today that Andi Mann returns to 'DevOps at Cloud Expo 2016' as Conference Chair The @DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo will take place on November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. "DevOps is set to be one of the most profound disruptions to hit IT in decades," said Andi Mann. "It is a natural extension of cloud computing, and I have seen both firsthand and in independent research the fantastic results DevOps delivers. So I am excited t...
IoT offers a value of almost $4 trillion to the manufacturing industry through platforms that can improve margins, optimize operations & drive high performance work teams. By using IoT technologies as a foundation, manufacturing customers are integrating worker safety with manufacturing systems, driving deep collaboration and utilizing analytics to exponentially increased per-unit margins. However, as Benoit Lheureux, the VP for Research at Gartner points out, “IoT project implementers often ...
"We work in the area of Big Data analytics and Big Data analytics is a very crowded space - you have Hadoop, ETL, warehousing, visualization and there's a lot of effort trying to get these tools to talk to each other," explained Mukund Deshpande, head of the Analytics practice at Accelerite, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
The cloud promises new levels of agility and cost-savings for Big Data, data warehousing and analytics. But it’s challenging to understand all the options – from IaaS and PaaS to newer services like HaaS (Hadoop as a Service) and BDaaS (Big Data as a Service). In her session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Hannah Smalltree, a director at Cazena, provided an educational overview of emerging “as-a-service” options for Big Data in the cloud. This is critical background for IT and data profession...
Machine Learning helps make complex systems more efficient. By applying advanced Machine Learning techniques such as Cognitive Fingerprinting, wind project operators can utilize these tools to learn from collected data, detect regular patterns, and optimize their own operations. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Stuart Gillen, Director of Business Development at SparkCognition, discussed how research has demonstrated the value of Machine Learning in delivering next generation analytics to imp...
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, wh...
Whether your IoT service is connecting cars, homes, appliances, wearable, cameras or other devices, one question hangs in the balance – how do you actually make money from this service? The ability to turn your IoT service into profit requires the ability to create a monetization strategy that is flexible, scalable and working for you in real-time. It must be a transparent, smoothly implemented strategy that all stakeholders – from customers to the board – will be able to understand and comprehe...
When people aren’t talking about VMs and containers, they’re talking about serverless architecture. Serverless is about no maintenance. It means you are not worried about low-level infrastructural and operational details. An event-driven serverless platform is a great use case for IoT. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Animesh Singh, an STSM and Lead for IBM Cloud Platform and Infrastructure, will detail how to build a distributed serverless, polyglot, microservices framework using open source tec...
Connected devices and the industrial internet are growing exponentially every year with Cisco expecting 50 billion devices to be in operation by 2020. In this period of growth, location-based insights are becoming invaluable to many businesses as they adopt new connected technologies. Knowing when and where these devices connect from is critical for a number of scenarios in supply chain management, disaster management, emergency response, M2M, location marketing and more. In his session at @Th...
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life sett...
"delaPlex is a software development company. We do team-based outsourcing development," explained Mark Rivers, COO and Co-founder of delaPlex Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
IoT is rapidly changing the way enterprises are using data to improve business decision-making. In order to derive business value, organizations must unlock insights from the data gathered and then act on these. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Hoffman, Vice President at EastBanc Technologies, and Peter Shashkin, Head of Development Department at EastBanc Technologies, discussed how one organization leveraged IoT, cloud technology and data analysis to improve customer experiences and effi...
Basho Technologies has announced the latest release of Basho Riak TS, version 1.3. Riak TS is an enterprise-grade NoSQL database optimized for Internet of Things (IoT). The open source version enables developers to download the software for free and use it in production as well as make contributions to the code and develop applications around Riak TS. Enhancements to Riak TS make it quick, easy and cost-effective to spin up an instance to test new ideas and build IoT applications. In addition to...
The idea of comparing data in motion (at the sensor level) to data at rest (in a Big Data server warehouse) with predictive analytics in the cloud is very appealing to the industrial IoT sector. The problem Big Data vendors have, however, is access to that data in motion at the sensor location. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Scott Allen, CMO of FreeWave, discussed how as IoT is increasingly adopted by industrial markets, there is going to be an increased demand for sensor data from the outermos...
CenturyLink has announced that application server solutions from GENBAND are now available as part of CenturyLink’s Networx contracts. The General Services Administration (GSA)’s Networx program includes the largest telecommunications contract vehicles ever awarded by the federal government. CenturyLink recently secured an extension through spring 2020 of its offerings available to federal government agencies via GSA’s Networx Universal and Enterprise contracts. GENBAND’s EXPERiUS™ Application...
The cloud market growth today is largely in public clouds. While there is a lot of spend in IT departments in virtualization, these aren’t yet translating into a true “cloud” experience within the enterprise. What is stopping the growth of the “private cloud” market? In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Nara Rajagopalan, CEO of Accelerite, explored the challenges in deploying, managing, and getting adoption for a private cloud within an enterprise. What are the key differences between wh...
Presidio has received the 2015 EMC Partner Services Quality Award from EMC Corporation for achieving outstanding service excellence and customer satisfaction as measured by the EMC Partner Services Quality (PSQ) program. Presidio was also honored as the 2015 EMC Americas Marketing Excellence Partner of the Year and 2015 Mid-Market East Partner of the Year. The EMC PSQ program is a project-specific survey program designed for partners with Service Partner designations to solicit customer feedbac...
The IoT is changing the way enterprises conduct business. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Hoffman, Vice President at EastBanc Technologies, discussed how businesses can gain an edge over competitors by empowering consumers to take control through IoT. He cited examples such as a Washington, D.C.-based sports club that leveraged IoT and the cloud to develop a comprehensive booking system. He also highlighted how IoT can revitalize and restore outdated business models, making them profitable ...
There are several IoTs: the Industrial Internet, Consumer Wearables, Wearables and Healthcare, Supply Chains, and the movement toward Smart Grids, Cities, Regions, and Nations. There are competing communications standards every step of the way, a bewildering array of sensors and devices, and an entire world of competing data analytics platforms. To some this appears to be chaos. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, Bradley Holt, Developer Advocate a...
SYS-CON Events has announced today that Roger Strukhoff has been named conference chair of Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo 2016 Silicon Valley. The 19th Cloud Expo and 6th @ThingsExpo will take place on November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. "The Internet of Things brings trillions of dollars of opportunity to developers and enterprise IT, no matter how you measure it," stated Roger Strukhoff. "More importantly, it leverages the power of devices and the Interne...