Click here to close now.

Welcome!

Agile Computing Authors: Michael Kanasoot, Lori MacVittie, Kevin Benedict, SmartBear Blog, Kevin Jackson

Related Topics: @CloudExpo Blog

@CloudExpo Blog: 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
Internet of Things (IoT) will be a hybrid ecosystem of diverse devices and sensors collaborating with operational and enterprise systems to create the next big application. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Bramh Gupta, founder and CEO of robomq.io, and Fred Yatzeck, principal architect leading product development at robomq.io, discussed how choosing the right middleware and integration strategy from the get-go will enable IoT solution developers to adapt and grow with the industry, while at the same time reduce Time to Market (TTM) by using plug and play capabilities offered by a robust IoT ...
The Internet of Things is not only adding billions of sensors and billions of terabytes to the Internet. It is also forcing a fundamental change in the way we envision Information Technology. For the first time, more data is being created by devices at the edge of the Internet rather than from centralized systems. What does this mean for today's IT professional? In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed this very serious issue of profound change in the industry.
SYS-CON Events announced today that BMC will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. BMC delivers software solutions that help IT transform digital enterprises for the ultimate competitive business advantage. BMC has worked with thousands of leading companies to create and deliver powerful IT management services. From mainframe to cloud to mobile, BMC pairs high-speed digital innovation with robust IT industrialization – allowing customers to provide amazing user experiences with optimized IT per...
There will be 150 billion connected devices by 2020. New digital businesses have already disrupted value chains across every industry. APIs are at the center of the digital business. You need to understand what assets you have that can be exposed digitally, what their digital value chain is, and how to create an effective business model around that value chain to compete in this economy. No enterprise can be complacent and not engage in the digital economy. Learn how to be the disruptor and not the disruptee.
Internet of Things is moving from being a hype to a reality. Experts estimate that internet connected cars will grow to 152 million, while over 100 million internet connected wireless light bulbs and lamps will be operational by 2020. These and many other intriguing statistics highlight the importance of Internet powered devices and how market penetration is going to multiply many times over in the next few years.
It is one thing to build single industrial IoT applications, but what will it take to build the Smart Cities and truly society-changing applications of the future? The technology won’t be the problem, it will be the number of parties that need to work together and be aligned in their motivation to succeed. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jason Mondanaro, Director, Product Management at Metanga, discussed how you can plan to cooperate, partner, and form lasting all-star teams to change the world and it starts with business models and monetization strategies.
The Internet of Things is not only adding billions of sensors and billions of terabytes to the Internet. It is also forcing a fundamental change in the way we envision Information Technology. For the first time, more data is being created by devices at the edge of the Internet rather than from centralized systems. What does this mean for today's IT professional? In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists will addresses this very serious issue of profound change in the industry.
Business as usual for IT is evolving into a "Make or Buy" decision on a service-by-service conversation with input from the LOBs. How does your organization move forward with cloud? In his general session at 16th Cloud Expo, Paul Maravei, Regional Sales Manager, Hybrid Cloud and Managed Services at Cisco, discusses how Cisco and its partners offer a market-leading portfolio and ecosystem of cloud infrastructure and application services that allow you to uniquely and securely combine cloud business applications and services across multiple cloud delivery models.
In his General Session at 16th Cloud Expo, David Shacochis, host of The Hybrid IT Files podcast and Vice President at CenturyLink, investigated three key trends of the “gigabit economy" though the story of a Fortune 500 communications company in transformation. Narrating how multi-modal hybrid IT, service automation, and agile delivery all intersect, he will cover the role of storytelling and empathy in achieving strategic alignment between the enterprise and its information technology.
Buzzword alert: Microservices and IoT at a DevOps conference? What could possibly go wrong? In this Power Panel at DevOps Summit, moderated by Jason Bloomberg, the leading expert on architecting agility for the enterprise and president of Intellyx, panelists peeled away the buzz and discuss the important architectural principles behind implementing IoT solutions for the enterprise. As remote IoT devices and sensors become increasingly intelligent, they become part of our distributed cloud environment, and we must architect and code accordingly. At the very least, you'll have no problem fillin...
Growth hacking is common for startups to make unheard-of progress in building their business. Career Hacks can help Geek Girls and those who support them (yes, that's you too, Dad!) to excel in this typically male-dominated world. Get ready to learn the facts: Is there a bias against women in the tech / developer communities? Why are women 50% of the workforce, but hold only 24% of the STEM or IT positions? Some beginnings of what to do about it! In her Opening Keynote at 16th Cloud Expo, Sandy Carter, IBM General Manager Cloud Ecosystem and Developers, and a Social Business Evangelist, d...
Converging digital disruptions is creating a major sea change - Cisco calls this the Internet of Everything (IoE). IoE is the network connection of People, Process, Data and Things, fueled by Cloud, Mobile, Social, Analytics and Security, and it represents a $19Trillion value-at-stake over the next 10 years. In her keynote at @ThingsExpo, Manjula Talreja, VP of Cisco Consulting Services, discussed IoE and the enormous opportunities it provides to public and private firms alike. She will share what businesses must do to thrive in the IoE economy, citing examples from several industry sectors.
In his keynote at 16th Cloud Expo, Rodney Rogers, CEO of Virtustream, discussed the evolution of the company from inception to its recent acquisition by EMC – including personal insights, lessons learned (and some WTF moments) along the way. Learn how Virtustream’s unique approach of combining the economics and elasticity of the consumer cloud model with proper performance, application automation and security into a platform became a breakout success with enterprise customers and a natural fit for the EMC Federation.
SYS-CON Events announced today that the "Second Containers & Microservices Conference" will take place November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, CA, and the “Third Containers & Microservices Conference” will take place June 7-9, 2016, at Javits Center in New York City. Containers and microservices have become topics of intense interest throughout the cloud developer and enterprise IT communities.
SYS-CON Events announced today that the "First Containers & Microservices Conference" will take place June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City. The “Second Containers & Microservices Conference” will take place November 3-5, 2015, at Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, CA. Containers and microservices have become topics of intense interest throughout the cloud developer and enterprise IT communities.
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo in Silicon Valley. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 17th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal an...
17th Cloud Expo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Meanwhile, 94% of enterprises are using some form of XaaS – software, platform, and infrastructure as a service.
The 17th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. 17th International Cloud Expo, to be held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, APM, APIs, Microservices, Security, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal today!
In his keynote at 16th Cloud Expo, Rodney Rogers, CEO of Virtustream, discusses the evolution of the company from inception to its recent acquisition by EMC – including personal insights, lessons learned (and some WTF moments) along the way. Learn how Virtustream’s unique approach of combining the economics and elasticity of the consumer cloud model with proper performance, application automation and security into a platform became a breakout success with enterprise customers and a natural fit for the EMC Federation.
The 4th International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 17th International Cloud Expo - to be held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA - announces that its Call for Papers is open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.