Having lived in technology corporates you get spoilt with IT systems that just work. It frustrates me when I see business owners not leveraging what technology can do for them.
A home-office break in got me thinking, what if some bastard stole my server, or there was a water leak while I was away, trashing my data and backup. Insurance will not cover that sort of loss.
So over the summer break I have made the technology leap into the cloud. This will give me incresed productivity for my frequent work in Koru lounges and cafés around the country.
For you non IT people, the cloud just means it’s hosted on the internet. Cloud solutions have the advantage of giving you easy access, from anywhere and it is not reliant on any infrastructure at your office other than a Broadband connection.
So my new set up is:
New Web Services:
- Mail 25G mailbox: Microsoft Exchange ONLINE $100 per year per user www.voyager.co.nz
- 50 GB Online Disk Storage: Dropbox $133 per year www.dropbox.com
- iMExchange: Notes and out off office Application for I-phone worth the US$8
Existing web services:
- Accounting System: Xero $819 per year www.xero.com
- Learning Source Training Logistics System http://www.learningsource.co.nz/
- Bloomtools Web Site www.bloomtools.com.au
My Hardware Platforms:
- Apple Air Mac – Laptop
- Windows Desktop PC’s: Vista and XP
Email – Calendar – Notes – System
For me Microsoft Exchange still is the best office communication management system, yes I have tried google apps but several things have pushed me towards online exchange.
Exchange offers: integrated email, contacts, calendar and notes across platforms (iphone, mac, PC) client and web access. Set up correctly it offers team calendar sharing, complete replication on multiple platforms and more. At $100 per user per year for a 25G mailbox it’s not worth mucking around with any imitation of it.
If I trash another i-phone I want my contacts, notes, calendar and mail going in minutes when I get my replacement phone.
Several things have changed which make this a wise decision:
- Voyager (a NZ Microsoft reseller) – offer a fantastic value for money package at $100 per year per user. They give you the first 30 days free on trial. Yes Seeby Woodhouse is back in action – ignore the old fashion web site – this company understands customer service and value for money.
- I have received excellent customer support from voyager and Microsoft USA.
- The only catch was there is a minimum 5 mail box purchase – good news is you can mix domains I have my family on Robotham.co.nz and my business on growthmanagement.co.nz sharing the same admin system.
This is a cool way to share files between PC’s. Best of all its cross platform (PC’s, Macs, i-phones, ipads). I can edit a document on the plane on my mac air, then tomorrow it will be on my desktop ready to finnish. You get a 2G file storage for free – so try it out.
I cannot finish this post without a plug for Xero. The GST change and a forced upgrade cost by MYOB, gave me reason to reconsider XERO. YES MYOB has more functionality and better reporting, but you need to have an eye for detail and an ability to think like an accountant to maximise its use. Xero has given me back at least half a day a month, in saved reconcilation time. I now prefer to check my bank balance online with Xero rather than go through my banks antiquated and non user friendly login systems.
PS: I love my 11” Mac Book Air – If you are a road warrior do not get an I-pad. With Microsoft Office 2011 for MAC it now has remote desktop support, make sure you download the service pack upgrade. No apple user told me of the week of grief as I bumbled my way around the apple OS, but all is now forgiven.