Cloud computing for your business recorded webinar - 28 February 2012

Uploaded by BusinessQldGov on 28.06.2012

Good afternoon everyone and thanks for joining us today on our session on cloud computing.
So here is what we've got in store for you guys today. I'm just going to do a quick intro
and orientation around this system to make sure you guys know how to use the webinar
technology we're using. We'll then spend most of the time on content and teaching you the
ins and outs of cloud computing. Finally, we'll allow some time for questions at the
Basically you can see on the screen that cloud computing has actually been around for more
than a decade and is actually not a new thing which might surprise you. I do feel like it's
been gaining a lot of popularity in more recent years. The reason I think it's been gaining
so much popularity is it's been things like the natural disasters that Queensland has
been experiencing and indeed around the world.
How many of you, out of interest, maybe lost some data or had some issues with floods or
cyclones in the last twelve months or so where you may have lost some data? Maybe your computer
just gave up the ghost, which happens too, like someone spilled a coffee on it. Any of
that stuff can happen to us. The fantastic thing about cloud computing is that if any
of these unexpected incidences arise, you're still protected because your data is maybe
in more than one location and importantly is
on the internet. Provided you can still access the
internet then you can still access the data. That's basically what cloud computing is.
It lives in the cloud or in the ether, you can't see it but it is there.
So you can see on the screen that little diagram there that the data could be on your PC but
on the internet too. It could be on your mobile. Think of all the contacts you have on your
mobile. How many of you have backed up your contacts lately on to the internet somewhere
should your mobile get stolen or broken or something like that? Maybe that's an action
point for some of you because that's a pretty important thing to do.
How many of you do backups and actually back them up online; not just a physical hard
drive or server somewhere but they're actually backed up on the cloud? Put your hand up if
you're already doing that. That is really something that all of you should have your
hands up to say you're doing because the fact is
that you can have a backup hard drive but they
fail sometimes. They get corrupt, they just stop working, they burn out or you lose the
cord. All sorts of things can go wrong. Not only that but some people have a second backup
and clever them they sometimes have it off site but sometimes that fails as well and
then they're really stuck. I strongly encourage
you throughout today's webinar to think about what actions you need to take, in regards
to cloud computing, to cover some of these situations which unfortunately do arise from
time to time.
Let me take you through just how big this cloud computing thing is getting. I've said
in more recent times that it's gaining in popularity and you can see that by 2013 they're
saying that
ten per cent of the physical servers sold will be virtualised. That means they're going
into more of a cloud environment. More and more people are doing their entire workloads
online. You can see there on the screen who the big players are in the world that are
using these online services. There are fifty million servers in the world today and actually
Google owns a million of them. Isn't that a phenomenal statistic? People worry about
how much data Google has and yes, they certainly do have a lot. You can look on Cloud Hypermarket
for some more stats. Basically the situation in Australia is that a lot of our data, it's
true, is actually backed up internationally. This is a concern for some because then it's
governed by the laws of that country and not our own. A lot of these services providing
the ability to back up into the cloud would be crazy to compromise your security or your
data in any way because then you wouldn't want their service anymore. That, for a lot
of people, is the number one concern for going this way, whether
it's safe or not. Would that be the case for any of you? Raise your hand if you're somewhat
concerned about how secure this stuff is. Particularly for people who are in the legal
environment or medical environment; there are lots of scenarios in certain industries,
with great reason, that need to take extra precautions.
I can tell you that in Australia there are some moves to get some cloud-based, fully
Australian owned servers into place. I'm not one hundred per cent sure where they're up
to but I have heard murmurs and seen the odd media article of people pushing for that to
happen. If anyone knows of any I'd love you to text them through to me but I think it's
an exciting development for business owners here that want to keep data locally, that's
perhaps a good idea.
I'll tell you what we do as a company; we choose to use servers to host websites which
actually have backups all over the world. So should there be a tsunami in Japan and
let's say our data was there, there's another backup over in America and another one in
Europe. It would take something pretty drastic for all three continents to go down, wouldn't
you say? It's certainly a good idea to look into where is the data, if I'm going to put
it in the cloud, actually being stored and how safe is it?
A lot of you are probably already using the cloud without even realising it. Take a look
on the screen now and see if you can identify something that you know about and you're already
using. I want you to text chat me which of those you are using. If you are aware of some
other service you're using that's not on there but definitely is cloud, drop me a text chat
too as I want to see what you guys are using. Quite a few are using Facebook, Dell's using
Dropbox, Christiana's all over it as she's using Hotmail, Facebook, PayPal and YouTube;
good one. A few of are using Gmail, PayPal, Amazon, SugarSync. There we go, just in our
small group, a lot of us are using the cloud and how many of you maybe didn't even realise
you're were already using that?
Here are some stats that you can compare yourself against of who is using cloud. This is also
off that Cloud Hypermarket website which you may like to go to for more information. According
to them fifty-six per cent of internet users are using webmail services like Gmail, Hotmail
or Yahoo. The traditional way to use email, of course, was to have some kind of server
maybe attached to your hosting and many, many people used a lot of the Microsoft solutions
or Microsoft exchange etc.
I'll just tell you, but I'm not saying you should do this as you need to look at the
suitability for your company, that we as a company moved to Gmail about two or three
years ago. I was a huge Outlook girl but I found it a really good transition and I'll
tell you why in just a few more slides.
Thirty-four per cent of people are now using online or cloud to store personal photos.
Think of how many photos a lot of you would have on Facebook; did you know that you can
do a backup download of that data? It's Facebook so it's pretty secure but someone could still
hack into your account or Facebook could go down and what if all of your photos were lost.
How would you feel? There's another action point for you to write down if you're taking
Twenty-nine per cent, you can see, are using online applications like Google Docs and Photoshop
Express. Put your hand up if you're using Google Docs already, out of interest. It came
up a bit in that list but I'd like to see a show of hands too. Wow, some of you who
aren't using it I'm going to introduce you to it in more detail in a moment. It's really
changed my world and I can't emphasise how good I find it personally.
Five per cent pay to store computer files online. Now that's an interesting point in
itself because there are a lot of places where you can store for free but it depends on how
much you need to store and whether you can share it. You've got to find a solution for
you. Throughout all of this I'm going to give you ideas on places you can go and look at
but I'm not going to suggest for any in particular that you use their solution. You may need
to do this in consultation with your IT team or an IT professional you work with or there
may be other professionals that you can work with like business coaches etc. to work out
solutions here.
Five per cent are backing up hard drives as you can see on there and isn't interesting
that the US government is predicting that a lot of their IT spend is going to go online.
So this is not just small businesses and businesses in general doing this, it's also major government
agencies around the world looking at cloud solutions these days. Again, the tradition
have been to create these elaborate servers that required maintenance and staffing and
so on. Times are tight with the economic down turn etc. so all businesses and government
agencies are looking at ways that they can save. Actually, when they find how good some
of these solutions are some of them aren't going back to those old ways.
I don't know how many of you are familiar with an organisation called Gartner so can
you put up your hand if you know Gartner? I'm just looking to see how many of you are
and it looks like quite a few of you are. Gartner is basically a place that does a lot
of research and they do a lot of predictions about things that are going to happen in the
technology space. Interestingly, often whatever they predict happens even faster than they
could have possibly predicted because technology and innovation is moving at such a rate. It's
more important than ever for you as a business owner to do your very best to try and keep
up with this stuff. You may say 'I don't have the time', 'I don't have the money', 'It's
so difficult' and I get that because I'm a small business owner too and I have a lot
of hats to wear just like you. I'll go as far as saying that if you guys don't keep
up with this stuff then your business may not survive or it certainly may not be performing
in the way you need it to perform to perhaps enjoy the lifestyle
you seek to live. So it impacts on your personal life
too. Look, in regards to cloud this is what Gartner says, it's expected to hit one hundred
and fifty billion in revenue from people offering cloud computing services. They're expecting
that servers will increase.
Three billion of the world's adult population will be able to transact electronically; that's
a phenomenal stat. What we're seeing is that even some quite, what do you call it - underdeveloped
countries that previously have not had access to technology but now do. In India's one billion
plus population a lot of people have mobile phones and they are literally running businesses,
transacting and selling online and they're providing services all from a phone and from
a tiny, shanty hut that they live in and still in an underdeveloped area. The whole balance
of the world has been tipped by this and it's a bit of a race to get up to date with it
and work out what it means to your business to survive.
A lot of businesses are saying, as you can see there in that second column, that the
reasons they're moving to cloud is that they need to ensure their business' agility. Given
that we are changing so fast they need to be able to move sideways, backwards, forwards
or whichever way they need to. Certainly that's a big reason why, personally, our company
moved to that. In my experience if you go out and pay
for a product whilst you may do all of your research and you may find it suits you in
the initial stages, you may find that in a very short space of time that your company
needs change. Maybe you get more staff, maybe you have more data than you anticipated to
store or maybe you need to do more with it and offer different services and you product
or service range has changed. The thing with these
customised solutions or off-the-shelf solutions is that they are what they are and they don't
always change. That's why I'm such a big fan of using a cloud based solution. I get a
package that suits me at that time and often you can just upgrade the package so as you
use it more you just pay more. If you find it's not working for you, you just go out
and get another one, there's no loyalty anymore as you're paying from month to month. That's
certainly what I'd recommend if you're looking to make a transition to these types of things.
I wouldn't suggest signing up for the twelve months ahead but download or look at the free
trial for a month or pay the minimal monthly fee for a few months, transfer some of the
data, see if you can get your staff using it and then commit to it from there. I'm pretty
sure once you try it you'll know it's working.
Here are some more benefits of operating in the cloud and I promise you I will give you
some cloud solutions that I use and love and why in just a moment but I want you to understand
these things first. One is that you don't necessarily need desktop software, if we start
around on the left, which is changing things as well because previously companies
like Microsoft had a massive hold on the market. You pretty much, as a business owner, had
to go out and buy them and when they updated versions you had to go and update it and deal
with the problems that caused. Literally, it is possibly to run a business now without
going and buying all of those expensive softwares if you don't want to. Some people find that
they prefer it and that's fine, again I'm not saying you have to do it, but I'm saying
it is possible if you want to look at that. So if you're a start-up business or very small
business and you're just trying to keep your costs down or you're looking to upgrade to
the next version and you're wondering if there might be another way, I can tell there is
so do take a good look at it.
As I said, you don't need to upgrade your software like you did previously, whether
it's an accounting solution or something else, we used to have to get the new version. The
files aren't stored on your computer; I think that's a hug one. There were cases when the
Brisbane floods hit where business' servers were in the car park and being low lying guess
what got hit first? It was the car park and unfortunately a lot of them didn't have a
virtual server. If they had they literally could have just left Brisbane and maybe flown
to Melbourne or somewhere that was dry and started working the very next day. I know
that if for any reason my computer dies or actually just recently I did have a laptop
computer stolen from my hotel room on the Gold Coast.
It was fine as I went and stayed with a friend. I used her laptop and could do every aspect
of my business because it was all virtual. All of my files, my accounts, my email and
everything I needed to run my business was online so that saved me, it really did.
All you need is an internet connection so you could to a friends' like I said, you can
go to an internet café or you can even sit on your phone these days, if you've got a
smart phone, and run your business. How cool is that? We've got lifestyle now, guys, if
we want it. Put your hand up if you do have a smart phone and you do use it to run your
business often when you're out and about. Put your hand up if that's you. Yeah, that's
certainly me too. I love that about cloud computing.
I also really like that last one around the corner which is the ability to collaborate
on work. How many of you have had the scenario where you've created a document, you forward
it on to someone, they send it back, you start working on it and they say 'no, that was the
wrong version'? Put your hand up if you've had this scenario and you've realised you're
double handling and it's a bit of a nightmare. The cool thing with some these cloud computing
solutions, which I'll show you in a moment, is that you can both work on them live and
in real time. There's only one document, there's no need to email it around and try and find
it in your email, it's right there. It's a different way of working but once you get
used the hang of it, gee, it's so much better and you'll wonder how you ever used to do
it other ways.
Just on that screen, put your hand up if you can see something on there that you think
would be of benefit to your business and a good reason to take a good look at cloud computing.
One of those benefits looking good to you? Yep, plenty of hands are going up which doesn't
surprise me.
Another way I explain this whole computing concept is that it's kind of like renting
versus buying a house. I often go back to houses because we all live in them. Some of
us own and some rent them and so on so it's something that we can relate to. If you are
going to rent something it's kind of like using these cloud solutions because you can
get something that suits you now and that you can change relatively easily. There is
a transition period but a lot of them will allow you to download or export data and reimport
it. Some of them even allow you to talk to different systems through
a thing called an API key so it isn't such a big
deal as creating a whole new system. You don't own it but you do get to benefit from the
space just like you were renting a house and that's how cloud computing solutions often
work. The other cool thing that I really, really
like is that someone else takes care of the upgrades, the extensions, the storage and
the security. As a small business owner we're not big enough to have an IT person and we
fortunately, because I have Jag in the team, don't need an IT company that we call on from
time to time. We use software where they look after
the security and they make sure it's keeping innovative. We don't have to come up with
that, we don't have to get it built, we don't have to make it happen which for me, is
awesome. We don't have to worry about hackers and things so we just keep operating the business
and keep doing what we're doing and being much more efficient. So if you've got an IT
person and you're not sure how much work they have or whether it's necessary and you're
trying to cut costs somewhere in your business, this is not true for everybody by the way
as some of you might absolutely need that person in your team for one reason or another,
I'm just giving you options again.
Look at the right hand side, the buying option. You can go out and buy great solutions but
you'll often pay the price to do so. You know I've heard of businesses paying five and six
figures for some amazing CRM or client relationship manager or database system or website system
or something like that because they really wanted it customised. Often, from my point
of view, they haven't always researched because you can often customise some of the existing
systems out there and they'll give you a good head start.
The other thing about buying that's just like a house is that you don't really know if it
will be right for you until you live there. You might have bought it outright, you think
it's right, you've done your research, you start using it and then you go 'You know what?
This isn't the bees knees that we thought it was'. It's hard to move on if you need
change. I was talking to a magazine recently and they've invested
a heap of money in a CRM but it doesn't really work for them and because they've spent ten
thousand dollars on it they're really loathe to moving on. We're having a lot of discussions
at the moment, because I'm sympathetic to the fact they've invested all of that money,
around how much business are they actually losing from it not being effective for their
needs, from it taking too long to work on and for staff not being able to use it because
it's just too complicated. Maybe they are just going to have to draw a line in the sand
and move on as hard as that may be.
The other thing to know is that you're going to be responsible for updates. For example,
there are cloud based website systems that are free or very, very cheap but a lot of
people don't realise you're going to have to update versions, you're going to have to
make sure they don't get hacked and security things
are in place, you're going to have to make sure the right modules are in place and things
are happening. If you're not that type of person, it doesn't excite you, you don't know
much about it and you really don't want to go down that road then beware of buying into
those sorts of systems.
Hands up how many of you do buy software outright at the moment and you do lean towards that
way? Roy, Pete, Nicole and Sarah do so quite a few of us do. Some of us are probably quite
a mix right now so you might not want to go all cloud all at once either you might look
at where your biggest inefficiencies are in your company. If, let's say, you know the
accounts person is spending ages on the accounting where maybe there could be an online system
that sucks in all the data from the bank that just needs to be a little bit
recoded instead of every little thing being entered in then maybe that's where you should
start. Prioritise in order your biggest inefficiencies, would be my suggestion.
Here are some other reasons why people are moving to cloud. There's direct open communication
and communication is a big one with cloud because previously we've had text and email
which can be online and offline, but things like social media and video streaming can
also be on the cloud too. We've seen people communicating things like policies and procedures
by posting them online, perhaps dropping a quick social media text chat or a message
rather than sending a whole email and getting some pretty good results from that.
Diversification: often we're seeing now more and more employees running laptops and plugging
into corporate systems. It may be more efficient and may mean you get more out of your staff.
I know, for one, our company policy when a staff member starts is to ask them whether
they prefer a laptop or a PC, a Mac or a PC or a laptop or a hard drive. Many will go
for laptops and that's worked really well for us.
Simplifying processes: I meet companies that go through three rounds of paperwork to achieve
one thing and I just think 'Gosh, that's crazy'. You've really got to think is it really worth
taking the time to map out what it is you do, what your workflows are and to really
think outside the square. You can get professionals to come in and help you workshop this stuff.
It's something we really love doing with companies and saying 'What would your world look like
if you didn't have to do it that way?' Sometimes people are so caught in that rut they can't
see it any differently but if you can actually make them understand that technology might
exist to achieve this, is it worth investing in and often it really is.
Globalisation's another factor because people are having customers further afield, they're
not just local, they maybe interstate or even international now. To service them you may
need online systems that have perhaps multiple currencies and things.
Collaborating: We, for one, have team members in Melbourne, New Zealand and different locations
and if we didn't have these cloud solutions it would be very difficult for me to manage
The economy is also driving this as well.
I guess if you are looking at whether you want to go into the cloud you need to think
about these sorts of things. Reliability; how important is that to you? They're not
perfect all of the time but then I bet neither is your current situation. In fact in my experience
often if people are using offline solutions and having an IT support team etc. they go
down just as much if not more than some of the online solutions.
Look at your growth and what stage you're at. How many of you would consider that you're
in a fast growth phase of your business? Maybe you're in early days or just experiencing
really good demand for your products or services right now. Put your hand up if that's you.
So if that's you then I would suggest that cloud is really well worth looking at because
it's hard if you're in a fast growth phase to anticipate what's next and what you may
need. If you go for these systems, like I said, you can upgrade the solution or move
to another one as your needs change because sometimes it's
very hard to know what the end goal is. Whilst you set targets and things you just
don't know path destiny's going to take you on, so to speak.
Privacy: Put your hand up if you regard yourself as dealing with highly sensitive data. Maybe
you're in the medical field or legal field and having that be very secure is very important
to you.
Remember there's a workbook too. A workbook was made available to you pre webinar and
is still there post webinar and we encourage you to go through a range of exercise to come
up with something of an action plan so that you can plan how to make cloud computing happen
in your organisation and what you should do first. These are the types of things we'll
get you to go through in more detail.
Security: Are you a potential target for a hacking? I guess everybody potentially is
but some of you may be more so than others. Maybe you're in a particularly competitive
environment or maybe you've had incidences before. All of these things could be reason
to consider yourself needing to have a secure environment.
What are your current resources? Look at that and what are you current needs? Are you trying
to increase productivity? Are you trying to be more financially sustainable? Do you need
to market more? Do you need to start handling client data better and making sure that you're
actually maximising any interactions you have?
It also comes down to budget as well because, like I said, a lot of them have a monthly
fee. Some of them are not nearly as much as you may think and others are a lot more.
So now let's look at just a few other solutions and these are by no means all of the solutions
available to you but they are certainly ones that I encourage you to take a look at just
be aware that are out that have a similar functionality as some of the others.
The first one is Google Apps. How many of you are using Google Apps in some shape or
form like Gmail or Google Docs? I know when we did that text chat quite a few of you were.
Yep, there are lots of you. So, Google Apps are awesome I think. We moved to Google Apps
about two years ago. There was a bit of an issue; there were some teething problems I
won't lie to you, but now couldn't imagine life without it.
The first one of the Google Apps I want to go through, and I'm not going to go through
every single one of them but I will go through the ones that are the most commonly applicable
to business owners, is Gmail or Google Mail. The really good thing about this is the amount
of storage you get. I don't know about you but I get so many emails and I used to find
when I was on Outlook that about every three to four months I would have to completely
archive the file and start again because there was that much data sitting in there. We get
a lot of big files but I also get a lot of emails.
I loved the fact that I could move to Gmail and have
twenty-five gigabytes per employee so I didn't have to worry about this archiving thing.
Also, Google are backing it up for me which is great. I will admit that I don't deal with
particularly sensitive data so that wasn't such a big deal for me. If it is for you and
you're looking at the suitability then look into the information that Google makes available
in regards to its security. I can tell you that there are government agencies, schools
and all sorts of organisations, particularly in America, that absolutely use Gmail as their
email solution.
The second point that I love about it is its' spam filter. I find that I get much more junk
mail, spam mail, when I use Outlook than I do with Gmail. I find it just pulls a whole
lot out. You've got built in instant messaging. You've got voice and video chat if people
are on Gtalk which is Google's version of Skype. You can label things if you would like
to file items off into boxes and so on; like you do in Outlook
you can absolutely do that in Gmail as well. You can turn an email into a Google Doc and
work on it offline. It works on your phone so you always get your emails.
Here's the big kicker, the last one; a lot of people don't realise that if you've got
a Gmail account you can actually run your company through it. So, when we send emails
it's and it's actually
going via our Gmail but you wouldn't know it because it's not coming from Gmail.
So, does that look like something you might look into for suitability? Put your hand if
maybe Gmail could be a good one to look at. As a company that looks at web solutions we
often have clients calling us saying 'My email's buggered up, is something happening at your
end?' Almost every time it's not at our end it's actually theirs and it's because they
haven't been deleting spam items, deleting the sent items and deleting the deleted items
and there's too much sitting on their server. If they'd actually moved to Google which we've
been suggesting a lot of them do, they wouldn't experience those issues anymore.
So, that's what Google Gmail looks like. You can customise the back ground, so you can
see there I've got a water feature, if you like things to look pretty like I do. Down
here I've filed things off. You can see you can manage different accounts too so if you've
got multiple accounts like personal, work and maybe an industry organisation you represent.
They can all be coming into this one inbox and you can handle things in priority order.
You can also 'star' them so if I see something I need to
do something with as an action point then I give it
a little 'star'. It also helps you over time if you tell them
what is important by clicking the plus; it will start to categorise your emails better
by bringing the important stuff to the top and leaving the not so important down the
bottom. Then you can say 'this isn't too important' and put a little minus next to it. So all
in all it's pretty handy stuff.
By the way, there's also a bunch of add-ons which if you go into a thing called Google
Labs, you can download. I'll tell you a couple of my favourite add-ons. One is Rapportive
which allows you to see, on the right hand side when someone emails you, all of their
social media accounts and whether they're on Twitter, Facebook or Linkedin. It will
show you their most recent Tweets or Facebook status updates and I find that gives me a
real head start when I'm dealing with someone. One, I can grow my social networks and two;
I can see what is big in their world. I can say 'hey, I see
that you've been on a holiday' when I send them an email which just helps to build that
relationship so much better. There are a bunch of other cool things that you can do with
Google Labs so just go onto Google Labs and add on the things that you think would be
good for your business.
Okay, moving on to Google Calendar. How many are using Google Calendar already, out of
interest. Put your hand up and don't go to sleep on me. A few of you do. Okay, second
question, how many of you manage a team or work with multiple contractors that you need
to diarise, keep tabs on and know where they're at? Are any of you doing that? Well, me too.
I've got a bunch of contractors and when I'm giving them a job I need to know whether
they're available. Are they going to be on holiday, are they going to a doctor's appointment,
just are they available? Google Calendar allows me to see the whole company's diaries,
what they make available, so if they've got a doctor's appointment they don't need to
tell me that's what it is but it'll be blocked out of their diary as 'busy'.
I can have multiple calendars, because if you are a working parent and you're trying
to manage the school runs and the school holidays
and the soccer and that sort of thing then I find that works really well for me to have
a calendar with all of my kids' stuff and then my stuff as well.
I can view calendars that belong to other people so for instance, I'm fortunate enough
to have a nanny so she puts in there all of here uni dates and I can see if she's available
or not. If I'm about to ask her to do a date for me, without even asking her, I can see
that no, it's probably not going to work because she's busy.
You can invite people to come to your appointments just like you can in Outlook. I find that
a wonderful system because rather than suggest to them that you have a coffee via email then
they get the date, time or place wrong then there can be a lot of mucking around and
it can six emails just to schedule an appointment sometimes. What I do is I go into Google Calendar
and I add the appointment the moment we've talked about it and I send them an invite.
If they've clicked on it to accept then they have no excuse as they know the date, they
know the time and they know what it's about.
If some of you are dead set on staying with Outlook you actually can run this calendar
with your Outlook. For a while there when we did the transition we ran it across both.
You can do it syncing Google Calendar to your Outlook which is one way. You can do it from
your Outlook to Google Calendar or you can do it both ways and you can add your phone
in there too. I have a Blackberry and I make it sync with my Google Calendar so if I'm
out and about and someone says 'Hey, let's meet up' then I can simply just pop that in
there and that will populate at the other end and my team will know that I've got an
appointment. Is that some cool functionality that some
of you might find useful? Yep, some of you might;
Well, here's what Google Calendar looks like. It's a nice easy interface. You can click
here and create an event. You can add calendars in here as well and you can search your own.
You can make your calendar public or private. Here's an example of when you might like to
make it public. Let's say you are an Osteopath or some other health practitioner. You might
like to create a calendar, make it so that the appointments don't show who they're for
because that's your client data and you wouldn't want to share that, but you could certainly
show when you're free and when you're busy. You'd have to manage this carefully and put
lunch hours in and any time off you wanted but apart from that you can then take that
calendar and imbed it or insert it onto your website or make it public.
So, if people are searching around on Google for an Osteopath that's available then your
calendar might turn up and they can see that 'Hey, on Wednesday at ten o'clock I can get
into that guy and he's in my area'. How handy is that? I should think businesses are crazy
not to use this system especially if they're a service-based industry and they want more
business. Sure, some of them would use a separate system and it's important that the two talk
to each other but this is free so if you've got nothing and want to start somewhere it'd
be good to take a look at Google Calendar.
Here's an example of what my calendar looks like. You can see that you can colour code.
On here I'm orange, another team member is green and another one is blue. So I can see
at any one time who's available, what they're working on and what's going on. Like I said,
rather than calling or emailing them to see if they're available, I find that works for
me so much better.
Some of you did say that you've been using Google Docs. You can actually do most things
on Google Docs that you can do on Microsoft so is it goodbye to it? Well, that's up to
you to decide. I can tell inside Google Docs, just like Microsoft packages, you can create
documents like Word docs, you can create spreadsheets like Excel and you can create presentations
like PowerPoint. They've even got a thing though where you can create forms and collate
responses easily. So, rather than running your next survey on a piece of paper that
you get people to fill in and submit back, or there is Survey Monkey, if it's a form
and you want to grab the data and enter it directly into a spreadsheet that you can analyse,
how about using a Google form?
Here's an example. We're currently analysing our contractors and making sure that we're
compliant with all of the current ATO legislation in terms of the hours they work and whether
they've got appropriate insurances in place etc. It's an annual audit we do just to make
sure we're being diligent. We've created a Google form, we've distributed that as a link
to our contractors via Gmail and they're clicking on that and providing their details and we
can look at that spreadsheet for any of those people and see where they're at. That saves
a lot of mucking around and rekeying as they're entering the data for us. It does, again,
take a mindset shift. You've got to think 'When is this going to suit me?' Next time
you're trying to get data from clients rather than get them to fill out a bit of paper,
maybe it's a new appointment form, how about having an iPad or computer at the front of
waiting room where they can just complete the form. Then you're not going to have to
key it into a system as it's already there.
Who does that sound good to; saving ourselves some unnecessary work? It's always good to
save on that right?
With your Google Docs, you can put them into folders just like you can on a hard drive
and here's the big difference, you can share and collaborate with others. So, let's say
I want to share that form with one other team member, I can. Let's say I want to share it
with all of the team members, I can as well. They won't see all of my documents, only I
will see them if I log in with my username and password which I protect very carefully
and change regularly too, by the way. They can log in at any time and work on those documents
if I want them to. Right now I've got a work experience student
in, for example, working on a range of stuff for me. Just yesterday she was looking
for some venues around Queensland that might be suitable for us to run some training sessions
from. She's created a Google spreadsheet and she's shared that with me so last night I
logged on and saw her work. There it is all in front of me ready for me to starting working
on and adding to or putting comments into.
The other thing you guys might really like is the fact that it's got auto-save. How many
of you have lost data because you forgot to save or the computer died before you got to
save? It's just heartbreaking when that happens isn't it? So, how good is Google Docs? It
just keeps on saving and you never have to save and I love that function as well.
So let's have a look at what Google Docs looks like; here's an example of our view. You can
see I've got different folders for different things I'm working on. You can see the little
green things are spreadsheets, the little blue are documents and with the stars you
can see I've shared those documents with all sorts of people. I can move this down and
you can see when it was last viewed by me and last modified by me. You can see whether
the staff are working on it so rather than saying to a staff member 'Hey, have you worked
on the such and such report?' you can see oh yeah, they were working on it at one o'clock
today, 'Great; they must be getting somewhere with that.' In fact, we actually use it when
we have our team meetings. We have a spreadsheet and our agenda up there and our performance
spreadsheet up there. So everyone logs in from all over and they can see what we're
doing and add to that as a live document. How cool is that; no need to email it around,
no lost files and you have version control etc.? I
absolutely love it for that. Who thinks that Google
Docs could be worth looking into for their business? There are a few hands going up and
that's great. That's exactly what today is all about; I'm so please to see that.
Here's how easy it looks. If you're thinking 'I'm not that techy, I don't know if I can
learn a whole new program', well you really don't need to. Google Docs is just like Microsoft
Word in lots of ways. The interface looks very similar. You can see that there's a 'file'
menu, and 'edit' menu, there's a 'bold', an 'underline'
and you can change the font. I will tell you that
you can do as high a level of design as you can on Word and even Word is not great if
you really want to make something look pretty. What I would suggest you do is that if you
want to just get the data down and you want to collaborate and get different people contributing
to the document that you do it in Google Docs. Then when you want to put the final, pretty
touches to it to make it look nice then move it off to maybe Microsoft or another program
and do your pretty cover pages and footers and things like that there. It's really good
for the grunt work if you know what I mean.
Here's a bunch of backup, storage and file sharing systems you may like to look at. How
many of you can see something on there that you're using? I know Dropbox came through
on the last lot but I'd love you to text through which one of these that you're using. I'd
love to know if Dropbox is the one that is still very popular or not. Dropbox, Dropbox
and Dropbox; wow, it's really popular. iCloud and mozy. Yeah, iCloud is pretty popular with
the Mac users. I can that some of you are asking questions throughout the presentation
so I want to remind you that I'll be answering those at the end. So I'll go through the list
I have here and everyone else will have a chance ask questions too. It's worth doing
it that way because sometimes I might cover it off anyway. So to go through these, and
it's good to see some of you are using them so I won't spend too long on them then, basically
it's a good idea to start to have your data backed up online somewhere so that if something
happens you're safe.
When I'm collaborating on, whether it's creating a presentation or something else, I'll often
put it on Dropbox and have other team members work on it with me. I could also do that
on Google Docs but if you want to keep it as a Microsoft Word file or something else,
a PDF, you might prefer to put it on Dropbox if it's that version you want to keep.
iDrive is a good one to look at particularly if you're not backing up heaps and heaps of
files as what that system can do at very affordable rates is at a nominated time, daily, weekly
or whatever you want, is back up your data. We used to set it at six o'clock Fridays and
when we walked out the door it would just start sucking up our files from our hard drives
and we knew it was backed up. Not on a hard drive that could get stolen, lost or damaged
but online where it was nice and safe.
These other ones on here are very similar to Dropbox in functionality. They're basically
a place to backup, store and share files. I suggest that you all do have a solution
that you use and that you start thinking about the really key documents that you might need
to bring over. Things like your Australian registration certifications and your insurance
certificates as these sorts of things come into their when a disaster strikes that you
just weren't expecting. If you've already got that data online that's easily accessible
and safe you will have a much better time of it at that point in time.
Okay, we'd better move along; gosh, this session's moving fast. As business owners we all need
to keep our book in order for the ATO and just to know we're tracking in terms of our
performance. Here are a bunch of online solutions and let me take you through them quickly.
Actually, you tell me, which ones are you guys already using? Drop me a line if you're
using one of these. Xero, someone has said. Live Accounts; so Live Accounts, of course,
is a MYOB solution that went online and then QuickBooks put one out. The reason they put
them out is because Xero came along and it was an online solution. MYOB and QuickBooks,
which used to have a massive market share, are basically programs that you buy and install
on your computer. Then comes BAS time or tax time and you have to zip the files and send
them off. You can't touch that file until you get it back and sometimes the accountant
can lose it or corrupt it and all sorts of things can go wrong. That's why I much prefer
to use these online solutions.
Xero came along and made a really easy interface because a lot of people have to go and do
a course to learn how to use it. Xero is very intuitive on the other hand. It was created
out of New Zealand and it lets you attach to your bank transactions and feed in data
so a lot of people are finding it useful on that front. That's why MYOB came out with
Live Accounts and QuickBooks came out because they knew they were losing the market share
to Xero. Xero have actually just been going around the country running some free road
shows if you're interested in checking out that technology. I'm sure if you're on MYOB
they'd be more than happy to talk to you about your accounts as would QuickBooks.
Just to tell you that there are others out there and there are many more than are on
the screen, at the top here is really good if you're managing inventory. If you're
selling items online you can connect Saasu to your website so not only do you sell your
item and transact it not only removes it from your inventory on your website system, if
you've got a good one, but it'll actually also do it in Saasu and do the accounting.
I know, for instance, that a woman based in Cleveland who is a one-person business that
is very successful at selling a range of children's music and toys that range around cultural
topics. What she does is she has an online solution that allows it to come off the website
and come off the account system, saving her hours and hours of re-entering. Who does that
like a good solution for? Are any of you managing product and inventory and you'd like to take
a look at something like that? Great. Just know that this is what today is all about.
These things exist, stop doing it the long, hard way and put some time and energy into
these and you might save a bit of money.
Freshbooks is also what we choose to use. We use a combination of Freshbooks and Xero,
personally. We use Freshbooks to raise our estimates and to issue invoices and we then
suck those invoices into Xero. The only reason is that Freshbooks is Canadian software and
it doesn't allow you to fill ATO and BAS requirements but it has got some other functionality that
we wouldn't give up so that's why we stay on it and pay for Xero as well. For instance,
it follows up our clients automatically that we find keeps our debt right down which is
great. Also, it allows us to manage all incoming invoices from contractors so rather than getting
random emails and random times from random people; we streamline it a lot coming through
Freshbooks which we find wonderful.
There are other systems that might suit you that are in the cloud that I haven't got time
to cover today. You might like a project management system or a client relationship management
system that allows you to track the interactions you're having with your clients. When you
last emailed them, what phone calls you've had, what they're in the market for and when
you're going to follow them up for instance.
Company wiki is where you store all of your procedures and policies so that you can go
on a holiday and leave your staff to look on there and know what to do and when to do
it. To be able to get help from a work experience person or a virtual assistant on an ad hoc
basis by having those procedures step by step ready to go.
A content management is so that you can log in to your website anytime, anywhere and add
a product, remove a sale because you've sold out or whatever.
Then there are all of the communications systems. There really are a lot of great systems in
the cloud that I would strongly recommend you have a look at.
Having said that, though, I will say that cloud is not for everyone because data is
offshore, I've talked about that, so you've got to decide whether that's for you. It's
still relatively new in the number of people using it so you've got to consider that if
you're ready to jump in now or keep or an eye on it. The biggest thing
is that you can see there are a lot of benefits but just make sure you do your due diligence
like you would for any other major business
decision. So work out, if you're going to use a certain one, where is the data stored?
What recovery plan do they have? How many others use it?
Make sure you've got a company policy in place too around that cloud solution. For
instance, if your staff have access to a system in order to their job and they leave, you've
got to make sure you remove their rights to that. It might mean just changing a password
or it might mean removing them as a user on the system. If you get slack on that then
you could potentially lose some property or IP.
The Australian government has actually put out a whole strategic paper about all of this
stuff and what their spin is on it. You can go to this link here if you'd like to take
a look:
Just a couple more slides and then I'll open it up for questions. I want to let you know
that you do still need to have backups for your backup. Last year two point two per cent
of all Gmail users lost their accounts. They did get it back up and running but it did
happen so I'm not saying they're perfect either.
Also, Google Docs had an issue in 2009 and like I said it's not in their best interest
to have these issues but the bigger they get and the more clients they have then these
things are possible.
Also, in April of last year I don't know if any of you were affected by Amazon, which
is one of the biggest servers too where a lot of the companies like ReadIt, Hootsuite
and Foursquare and I don't know if you use any of those services, had issues. We couldn't
work out why we couldn't use Hootsuite and then we discover on the network that Amazon
was down so that made complete sense to us. What I'm trying to say here is that with these
solutions, stuff can still happen. Can you operate your business if it went down? You
always need to have a plan a, b, c and even a d. Do you like that little thing in the
left there, that little cartoon I got for you guys? They backup their data on sticky
notes because they never go down. I had a staff member that loved her sticky notes,
they were everywhere.
In summary, here are the cloud computing issues I want you to think about. One is to consider
your business needs. What processes or functions in your business do you have that you need
to improve, streamline, save money on and increase efficiency? What is your budget and
what resources do you have? Consider whether cloud computer's right for your business.
Maybe it's not now but maybe it will be in the future. Think about how you're
going to make that transition process and you will need to block out time in your diary
to talk with IT professionals to move data, export data, and test it out etc. Look into
the different systems you're looking to use and make sure that you do still have backups.
Alright guys, you've been very patient with me so now I'd like to open it up to questions.
How about Michelle as her hand is also up? Hi Michelle.
[Michelle] Hi Yvette. I have two questions. [Yvette] Sure.
[Michelle] The first one is do you know if Xero does payroll as well?
[Yvette] It doesn't do payroll but they do have systems that work with it that we use.
You basically go to their site and they have an add-on section and they list a bunch of
products that work in with it. To be honest, because my accountant does that for me, I
think we might use Web Payroll or something which is
about twenty-five dollars a month and it works in with Xero.
[Michelle] Excellent. The second questions is can you choose which country the info is
stored in?
[Yvette] No you can't generally but I would do if you're looking into a company, good
question, is to look into their information pages and if it's not clear to you where the
information is stored is to enquire with the and say 'I'm interested in your product but
I'd like to know where your information is stored'. If they're talking about it being
stored on the Amazon servers and things like they are pretty secure but they can go down
like I've shown you. So can your other servers so I'd feel quite comfortable using those.
[Yvette] You're welcome and thanks for your questions. Mick, hello Mick? [Mick] Hi.
[Yvette] Hi; do you have a question for me?
[Mick] Yeah, it's about Gmail. [Yvette] Yes, go ahead.
[Mick] Okay, the first question is if you use Gmail does it mean that in order to look
at your emails that you have to be connected to the internet?
[Yvette] In order to look at Gmail, yes, you need to access the internet but they do have
an offline mode. I haven't used it but my understanding of how it works is that you
can download your email and not be connected to the internet to look at the old stuff and
not send. You could basically cue up a number of replies or new messages and then when you're
next online, they will go out. Does that make sense?
[Mick] Okay. Also, I know you were saying that really you should still back up your
own data but essentially if you used Google Mail then they do back up your emails so you
don't really have to worry too much about the backup and restore of your own emails?
[Yvette] That's right. One, they allow you so much storage space, twenty-five gigabytes
so I find, this is another benefit I didn't even mention before, I can pretty much just
keep my emails without deleting them which is great. If I need to retrieve something
from time gone by then I simply search for it. If there's one thing Google is good at,
it's good at search and I find that if you search by name or date or anything, it comes
up very quickly so it's a very good system in that regard.
[Mick] Okay, thanks for that.
Sarah has asked "Regarding multiple calendars; when you have the public calendar on your
website for confidential health appointments you mentioned that you keep the names blank,
obviously, but do you have the client's name in your own diary or do you need to enter
it again with the client's name into your own diary?"
[Yvette] Good question Sarah. How this works is yes, at your end you can see the client
name so you can administrate your business but at the other end it just shows as busy.
It's a setting on your Google Calendar but you should just carefully test that and make
sure you look at it from both ends to make sure it's
displaying just how you want but it absolutely has that functionality. I hope that answers
Sarah has said, "What does under their jurisdiction mean? Is there a list of questions to ask
when getting data stored on the cloud? I missed the website address to get further info, can
you repost it?" All of the slides and all of this presentation are actually transcribed
and made available post event. It usually takes
a couple of weeks to prepare it but you can go to a website I'll show you in a moment
if you want to get access to any of the presentation links and slides etc.
Cheryl has said, "We use Microsoft Exchange Calendar and a Global calendar for all service
appointments and this calendar will not import into staff iPhones." That's right Cheryl,
as far as I know Microsoft unfortunately haven't
innovated but do talk to an iPhone expert or a Microsoft expert, which I'm definitely
not, to work out if there may be an app that will make that happen. If there's not then
maybe you do need to look at Google or some of these other solutions because the staff
being able to see their appointments for the next day or when they get back from lunch
is a pretty awesome functionality.
Sue-Anne has added, and it's a great contribution thanks Sue-Anne, "Xero has bought
PayCycle so Xero will include full payroll in just a few months." That's exciting news.
Andrew has also contributed that. Thank you for letting us know the same thing, that's
Karen has asked, "How many people can work on the same doc online before it starts lagging?"
I've never tried that out but we've had maybe ten on there and it's not been an issue. Typically,
people aren't all working on it at the same time but for any reason if you
did have that many, give it a test run. I'm not a hundred per cent sure but you could
look up Google Docs help and they might have an indication
on there. It may well have something to do with the amount or strength of the internet
that different people are using because Google is pretty robust in itself.
Erin says, "You use email but does it show as Gmail or do they redirect?" No, my emails
don't show as Gmail. All my emails show is my @ my company name so you can absolutely
use Gmail and still have a nice, professional front.
"What are the fees and charges for backing up with various companies?" says Vanessa.
Well Vanessa, they vary greatly from company to company so the two places I encourage you
to look at when you investigate new software is the features page, which is where they
list what the thing actually does, and the pricing
page. Often they'll offer free trials for a month
and often they'll have small packages for small businesses with small requirements and
it goes up depending on your requirements. Look into some of the solutions I've given
you to see which one may suit you.
Paul has said, "How does the Microsoft cloud compare to Google?" Good question Paul but
I don't use Microsoft cloud so I'm not sure. I think that question would be best directed
to a Microsoft rep or an IT person.
Sue-Anne says, "If Cheryl's using Microsoft Exchange it can work with iPhones and I'm
happy to email her because I was so excited to do it myself." So there you Cheryl, it
is possibly but you've just got to have the right person or expertise to look at it.
Amanda, this will be the last question, "I've heard that maybe some of the accounting packages
will bring in charges for every time you access the site." I haven't heard that Amanda and
I don't know why they would bring that in because I think they'd lose a lot of customers
if they did that. They might, as a new business model, because there's nothing stopping them.
You are at their peril if you're using their software but I think there'd be too much backlash
would be my opinion on why they wouldn't do that. They earn plenty of money by charging
a monthly fee to access the site.
Great questions, guys, and there were lots of them. Thank you so much for joining me
today and don't go away as I want to tell a couple of last things.
Help is available. You can go to for any help that you need in business as
this site is huge. Apart from having webinars you can find out how to get money in terms
of funding and grants, business plan templates and financial plan templates. This should
absolutely be your first port of call. It's from the Queensland government, they put out
quality information and resources so do go and have a look at that. If you can't find
what you're looking for then do have a look at their business hotline as you can call
them any time on 13 25 23. Ask them any business
question and if they can't help you they'll put you on to someone who can help.