When organisations discuss the benefits of smarter working, the focus is usually on how internal teams collaborate with each other.
But in order to work smarter, this isn’t enough. You need to find productive ways to work across organisations with your key partners, clients and suppliers.
The cloud is making this easier than ever before, by empowering internal and external stakeholders to work together anytime, anywhere.
The downside of face-to-face meetings
Meetings are important for building strong business relationships.
But travelling to meet face-to-face isn’t always productive, especially when you have to travel long distances to do this.
The negative impact on the environment also can’t be ignored. For example, scholars at the University of California estimate found that air travel for academic conferences, meetings and talks accounts for about a third of the campus’s carbon footprint, which is equal to the total annual carbon footprint of a city of 27,500 people in the Philippines.
How the cloud is connecting organisations and departments
Cloud collaboration is helping organisations to connect without travelling to meetings which in turn is reducing their impact on the environment.
Take NHS England and NHS Improvement for example. Their vanguards were struggling to find one place to work together, share content privately and work collaboratively as teams on key deliverables with third party organisations.
Meeting up was impossible, due to the wide geographical spread of NHS organisations and local authorities. So instead, they turned to the cloud to solve their problem.
Using one secure cloud-based platform, the vanguards were able to share knowledge with each other and their external partners. Having a single source for this information made collaborating simple.
As users began innovating, they found it easy to adapt and deploy online workspaces for other projects and business use cases.
Because of this, the platform, (branded as futureNHS,) Has been expanded to support a wider range of multi-agency team working programmes and continues to grow month-on-month and now exceeds over 50,000 users. Facilitated centrally, but implemented locally, it has been independently assessed to be delivering over £13m per year in productivity savings.
Innovative cloud pricing models such as active user licencing are making this possible, by allowing them an unlimited number of registered users, but the NHS only pay for those logging in and using the system each month.
This consumption-based approach is ensuring licencing costs only grow as usage of the tool increases, meaning a much better ROI.
Enabling secure collaboration across an industry
When collaborating with other organisations, security and information governance is paramount – especially when you’re sharing information classified up to OFFICIAL-SENSITIVE.
This is particularly true in the Defence industry. However, historically, many organisations used all or a combination of email, encrypted disks, unsuitable internal systems and uncontrolled single-function cloud services to collaborate with dispersed teams and their external partners.
However, this was challenging. With no single source of truth, projects were disjointed and with data hosted on multiple platforms, it became difficult to keep control over information security and governance.
This changed in 2015, when the UK MOD procured the Kahootz cloud collaboration service, via the G-Cloud. This provided them with a secure collaborative working environment that could be used by them and their Industry Partners to store and share information up to OFFICIAL-SENSITIVE classification over the MOD’s private network and via unknown user devices connected to the Internet.
For an organisation rightly concerned about information security, the move to accredit and use a public cloud service was truly innovative and transformational. Users can now work securely anytime, anywhere on any device with SMEs and industry partners wherever they’re located.
It has also allowed MOD’s business units, and their key partners, to overcome the barriers they faced trying to share data over multiple private networks, by enabling new, more efficient working practices and teaming arrangements.
Because of this, the system was described by one industry user at an ISS Engagement day held by techUK as “the gold standard in industry engagement.”