Cloud-based Tools for Work: How to Switch to Remote Working Quickly

The head office of Digital Design is located in St. Petersburg, and we are also present in other cities. For example, our employees in Vladimir are permanently working on a remote basis without having a physical office. At the same time, we implement projects from Germany to Kamchatka, so we are really experienced in working with customers and employees remotely. Vladimir, head of the R&D Department, and chief ideologist of Digital Workplace implementation, will share his thoughts on the most relevant and popular cloud-based tools.

You may have heard of the following tools for remote work but there is a big difference between theoretical and practical knowledge. Current pandemic situation presents a great chance to try new tools in your company and only real experience helps you understand how one or another technique or product could fit you.

MS Teams (discussions and teamwork)

Due to the pandemic, you can find good discounts on products for remote work, and there is neither time nor resources to engage in deploying something local. In my opinion, the most suitable tool to deploy would be Microsoft Teams. This is the most popular corporate messenger in the world, and it is available for a 6-month free trial. Some consider it as a WhatsApp for corporations, but I would note that it is also a tool to combine other services and applications. Besides, MS Teams has well-organized threaded conversations. It is very helpful since it makes it easy to find any message due to convenient grouping and structuring by teams and subjects.

The main challenge of remote work is the lack of live communication, so video conferencing is what definitely has to be included in our cloud solution. MS Teams completes the task perfectly: its functionality includes calling up, sharing the screen and discussing issues with many colleagues. Click here to learn more about MS Teams features we can implement to help your business.

Microsoft Teams: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/­microsoft-365/microsoft-teams/group-chat-software

OneDrive (cloud storage)

OneDrive is a cloud storage that can be used by many users to edit files simultaneously and share them easily. It would also be useful for those who have a weak Internet connection or who are uncomfortable working in a browser. Everything can be opened in desktop applications and synchronized with your local computer. It helps you to be independent of the data transmission channel.

Microsoft OneDrive: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/­microsoft-365/onedrive/onedrive-for-business

MS Planner (task management)

MS Planner is a built-in Office 365 solution. It lets you add a task board for a team with just two clicks. Simple, but it is enough for task management in an Agile format.

Microsoft Planner: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/­microsoft-365/business/task-management-software

Zoom (video conferencing)

Another good news is that the 40-minute meeting limit for 2+ participants in Zoom has been removed. Zoom is my favorite in terms of video conferencing, since it is very easy to install, set up and use.

Zoom: https://zoom.us/pricing

Jira, Trello (task tracker), Confluence (knowledge base)

There are many task trackers, but I would mention only the ones that have proven to be the best. Jira and Confluence are very popular cloud-based services in the IT environment. If you have a team of up to 10 people, they would be free. Trello is also a tool to be considered. If you have not been using such services yet, you can just try it for some time. In our company, we use local solutions, but online access is also possible and now it is time to use it!

Jira: https://www.atlassian.com/software/jira/core
Trello: https://trello.com/en-GB/pricing
Confluence: https://www.atlassian.com/software/confluence

Miro, Whimsical (online collaboration)

Another class of products I would like to talk about is tools for online collaboration. It allows its users to see the same picture on a screen, follow the cursor of other team members, place virtual stickers. This can be done in Miro. In our company, we use Whimsical as it has an emphasis on mind map and interface design. This is a convenient and flexible tool for visualizing tasks and monitoring project status. It is always great to find some new features of the project, simply by tracking the tasks.

Miro: https://miro.com/pricing/
Whimsical: https://whimsical.com/pricing

I think these tools are enough to replace live communication for a little while and use it in the future after appreciating their convenience!