Which Automation System Should I Get to Know Better?
As we look at the various resources available for cloud systems, there are three “Ps” for each brand that need to be considered: position, perception and purpose. Brands are represented as you hear about each and check out their websites. Brand positions, perceptions and purpose create feelings you will experience as you interact with them. As an example, let’s look at some taglines for a few cloud platforms.
One brand platform appeals to guilt with a tagline: “Why doesn’t your company use us?” A second one aims for feelings around ego, leveraging claims of being the best: “No. 1 choice.” And yet a third goes after self-worth: “Remove limits to your business.” There are as many different cloud resources available and each one combines its own mix of brand position, perception and purpose. What to look for here is how does interacting with the brand feel? You will be spending a lot of time together, so expect this feeling to continue.
Where Should We Meet and Is It Safe to Be Dating?
While all cloud resources have to be extremely secure to stay in business, there are a couple of things to consider:
• How well do their gateways and firewalls integrate with your own hardware and protocols? These security protocols have to function seamlessly with your database from the start. If anyone in your team will access the platform from a Mac, make sure that interface works well. For businesses with extremely sensitive data or very conservative privacy platforms, the security due diligence may have to be more thorough
• How well does inviting others to share files work? There is a risk that both you and your colleague will burn up precious time just getting connected. Make sure inviting someone to share a file involves only a click or two, and the same ease exists after receiving the invitation.
Where Should We Hang Out?
Your data will exist on the cloud platform’s server, as well as on your hard drive. You will definitely be spending some time on that server for administrative purposes and perhaps even ongoing workflow elements. Be sure the platform’s Web access (vs. the application itself) is easy to access from your desktop, easy to navigate, helps you organize your data and can easily send invitations to share files when necessary.
Pay particular attention to add-ons and preferences so you can understand how to get the most value out of your platform. On the more personal side, be wary of how many “sales” pitches you may be receiving, and if you can opt out of these.
Are We Just Friends or Actually Partners?
For those of us working with data and analysis on a daily basis, several functional elements need to be addressed. The first is whether you will work on the cloud platform in real-time or just pull files into a local environment, using the cloud only for storage.
My experience is that we transitioned from using the platforms as storage to working in them in real-time. At first, there is a little fear that the data really will be secure and the files still there when you return to work on them. Another initial challenge is managing when you have an Internet connection or do not. Over time, and hopefully a short amount of time, you will learn to just work every day in the cloud and trust it.
Once you are partnering with the cloud, think about what other file-sharing resources you can replace to simplify your life. I have found that the cloud is replacing FTP sites, applications that offer to send really large mega files and even a reduction in using zip files. This is especially true with internal teams who can be spread around the country, but are all on the same internal data platform. In fact, the cloud can even replace the need for that server sitting in the back closet or basement that has been used for accessing through VPN protocol during the years.
A third functional element to consider is how easy it will be to get your entire team to use the platform. My experience is that some quickly change their daily data analytics habits, while others are very slow to adopt cloud work habits.
For daily sharing of files, those who adopt cloud functionality will find efficiencies they never dreamed of. Once you experience it, organizing and storing files is easier than ever before. On the other extreme, if you are using the cloud to replace legacy resources for archiving your data, this can be a big challenge. As with everything in life, change in and of itself is hard for most of us.
Here are four takeaways for dating on the clouds:
- How does working with various platforms feel? With all the time you will be spending there, it needs to be really seamless and efficient.
- Make sure the platform is secure enough for your needs, and that security is not too cumbersome on a daily working basis.
- The platform’s Web access itself has to be easy to navigate and use.
- Plan on partnering with the platform to get the most value out of it.