By all accounts, the five-day work week is rarely applicable to today’s business world. For that matter, the standard brick-and-mortar office in which the entire team converges and collaborates Monday through Friday, 9-to-5, is becoming a thing of the past. Even in some of the largest enterprises, teams are spread out from coffee shops across town to satellite offices around the world. For executives, especially at the C-level, this can mean a management nightmare — or an opportunity.

This dilemma has given way to a burgeoning market of online applications that allow teams to communicate, collaborate and share data more efficiently.

Executives can now manage productivity from anywhere, any time zone. Here are some new applications that can keep executives dialed-in and on top of the work:

File and project sharing

Executives can be faced with a myriad of documents, spreadsheets, presentations and the like on a daily basis for review, approval or to pass onto the customer. Tools such as Dropbox and iDisk for Mac allow executives to access shared drives remotely. However, they have some inconvenient pitfalls. For instance, if an employee makes changes to a document, the most recent version may not show up in the shared drive right away. Microsoft’s SkyDrive in the 2011 Office suite is aiming for a solve so multiple users can work on documents simultaneously from any location.

Idea generation

Nearly three years ago, Yammer emerged as a solution that promised to harness the power of social media for the workplace. Now that an estimated 80 percent of Fortune 500 companies are using Yammer, it appears the company might have succeeded. The goal is to improve workplace communication and collaboration by providing a secure, private forum where workers can share information, pose questions, get answers and build stronger relationships. The CEO of one of Yammer’s customers, Deloitte Digital, posted a message on the Deloitte Australia Yammer network for a new ad campaign. Within the next 24 hours, hundreds of employees submitted thousands of taglines.

Video conferencing

If you’ve ever initiated a video conference with customers, prospects or even your own employees, you have no doubt felt the pain of the download. Watchitoo uses a patent-pending technology to let you see up to 25 people on one call and share files (including large media files) using nothing more than a Web browser. No clunky downloads and nothing to configure.

Virtual teamwork

A scenario that’s becoming more common as advances in audio-visual equipment find their way into design, architecture and engineering firms is the use of SMART Boards from CCS Presentation Systems to enable collaboration with those at the home office and those in the field. These tools used in virtual teamwork are especially important when combined with BIM software and other 3-D technology.


Arizona Business Magazine July/August 2011