Having My Documents in the cloud truly does round out cloud computing and the common everyday needs for users which usually include:
- My Documents
All of these can now be in the cloud and available anytime from any device (phone, tablet, laptop). Along with email, calendar, and CRM, users need an easy and safe place for their work and personal stuff (meaning My Documents).
The late George Carlin had a funny comedy routine based on the fact that you need a place for your stuff. From a business and personal point of view, having all business applications along with your work and personal stuff available from any device, all in sync via the cloud, creates tremendous efficiencies. Some people reading this article may already be using some sort of cloud file sharing but read on how Microsoft brings it all together.
Email – Before we discuss My Documents in the cloud, let’s start with email. For example, I can go to my “Sent Email” folder and all my sent email is there whether I sent an email from my phone or tablet or laptop. I remember the days when I used to bcc myself when I sent email from a different device. I don’t have to do that anymore. All my email, tasks, calendar (all appointments are in sync across devices) and even my saved email folder structure is in the cloud and available from the device of choice. This is made easy with the new free Outlook.com or Microsoft Office365.
CRM – The same is true for CRM (Customer Relationship Management). Having one central database of truth for all my business relationships, team collaboration, a rich 360 degree view of my customers, activities, processes, next steps, buying trends, and analytics helps me do my job better. It helps me provide better value through better information and better relationships. Having that same information available anywhere on any device is no longer a ‘nice to have’ in the competitive landscape of today, it is expected. This is made easy with Microsoft Dynamics CRM.
My Documents – I recently moved my entire “My Documents” folder to SkyDrive – the whole thing. It is free with 7 GB. If my hard drive on my laptop crashes tomorrow, all my stuff is safe. I remember the days not too long ago when I would be working on an important document at the office. When I left to go home, there were times when I didn’t feel like packing up my laptop, so I would just email the document to myself so I could continue working on it from home. I then graduated to SharePoint but I didn’t keep everything in SharePoint. Everything was in my local My Documents folder on one device which was my laptop. This included all my personal stuff like kid’s soccer schedules, workout fitness programs in Excel, my personal stuff that I was reluctant to put out to SharePoint or a shared drive. Now all my work and personal stuff is in the cloud. I can easily share documents with anyone I wish. I have access to My Documents from my device of choice. And this is made easy with SkyDrive.
Consuming Device vs. Creation Device – If I am doing real work (as opposed to what? fake work?), I use my laptop hooked up to a monitor. This gives me a big monitor, keyboard, and mouse and is still for me the most effective way to work as it is both a consuming device (viewing, reading, browsing) and creation device (create, edit, save as, change, invent). My smartphone still plays a key role but is mainly a consuming device such as reading emails. I might type a quick email response or text message. A long detailed email is just easier on a creation device – that is what it is supposed to do. It is great having access to the My Documents folder on my phone. Just recently I received a call from a client that had a question related to a document we share. I was not in the office but I could pull up that exact document on my phone and go to the section immediately to help answer their question. Tablets are great for one-on-one meetings to show a PowerPoint or file – again directly from SkyDrive. Currently, I don’t have the ability to edit documents or create documents on my phone or tablet – just view the files. Viewing (consuming) is good but it is about to get much better. We are seeing a shift to tablets or hybrid touch tablets/laptops that run Windows 8 and it is this same smooth interface across all the Windows devices. That means you can create and edit the same files across the device of choice. To further expand on this, here is some related information:
- Joshua Greenbaum has a blog post explaining consumption and creation and how it will affect the future of the enterprise.
- Listen to Microsoft founder and Chairman Bill Gates as he shares his thoughts on Windows 8 and the new Surface device in this video.
- Paul Thurrott has a post explaining Why Windows 8.
There is an app for that 😦 In my opinion, I think you may start to hear a different context to the word “mobile app”. I believe the word “app” which was so cool to say as in “there is an app for that”, may not be so cool in the near future and may start to be viewed as a neccessary work-around for a particular device. You should be able to run most programs/apps/websites across any device and you should not neccessarily need “an app for that”. Mobile apps will still have their place but my guess is that your browser will start becoming your all-in-one app due to HTML5 and hence the need for specific apps will decrease. We may not be exactly at that point yet in all situations, but I believe it is coming. Part of the reason why I decided to write about SkyDrive and your stuff in the cloud is that it helps get ready for this any device anytime anywhere computing.
How to Move the My Documents Folder to SkyDrive – First, go to SkyDrive which is at https://skydrive.live.com and sign in with your Microsoft LiveID. This is the browser access to SkyDrive and where all your files will be. Next, go to the SkyDrive app store at https://apps.live.com/skydrive and download the desktop application for your laptop/desktop. I found the following blog post by Sajeev Nain to be helpful with this process. Lastly, for phones and tablets, go to the Windows, Android, or Apple App Store to download the appropriate free mobile app.
Screenshots – To let you see what all this looks like after you have moved the My Documents folder to SkyDrive, I have included screenshots immediately after this post.
Microsoft Rounds Out the Cloud – There are lots of other cloud services from Microsoft I certainly could have mentioned in this post such as OneNote (quick note taking, stored in cloud, embedded in Office apps) or Lync (IM, online meetings, VoIP, embedded in Office apps and CRM) but I mainly attempted to concentrate this post on SkyDrive. In summary, having all your own core computing needs/files available from any device, all in sync via the cloud, is a game changer.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Screenshots – The following screenshots are of SkyDrive in action as My Documents.
Setting this up. Right click on the MyDocuments folder and go to properties and change the location to point to SkyDrive.
SkyDrive on a Tablet
SkyDrive on a SmartPhone
SkyDrive on a browser
SkyDrive on the desktop