SharePoint on Holiday

Its holiday time and I’m sure you like me are racing to complete all those tasks that need doing before leaving work for that well-earned rest. It’s not until you are sitting on the plane or ferry that you realise about all the other tasks that you didn’t get time to complete. It could be something as simple as running your eye over a document or altering a spreadsheet and for some this feeling can make for an unpleasant start to, what should be, a relaxing time.

Business people are becoming increasingly keen to keep on top of things and with devices such as tablets, netbooks and Ultra-book PC’s getting smaller and lighter, taking your PC on holiday is no longer a chore or the issue that it once was. Most if not all hotels now have web access either built into the room price or available at a nominal fee. Even if you’re out for the day, many restaurants and public buildings have internet access so it’s relatively easy to keep in touch with the business when off on holiday.

Microsoft Sharepoint comes into its own in assisting people in gaining access and input remotely. It is a network based solution that acts like a digital filling cabinet where various formats of company documents such as Word documents, spreadsheets, PowerPoint files, PDF’s and printing proofs can be stored under specific projects or departments etc.

These are stored in such a way that designated staff can have various levels of access and rights to view or work on documents. If for example a presentation or tender document was being worked on by various staff, the owner of the business could also access this remotely and alter it. Sharepoint can be set-up to send a short e-mail to inform whoever is on holiday that the document has been added or altered and the receiver can then decide whether to view the document or not. You may also view your documents, spreadsheet, etc via any mobile device that can gain access to the internet including your smartphone.

Without the use of your own mobile PC device, the internet café is another option to view and keep up-to-date with company projects. A simple login format will grant you access to all relevant documents. However, viewing documents of a highly sensitive nature in this way should only be done when you are fully aware of the security risks that this entails, such as the possibility of information falling into the wrong hands via accounts being left logged in and enabling access for anyone who uses the terminal after you.

For face to face contact, Microsoft Lync can be used to have a video conversation. Sometimes it’s easier to chat for a few minutes rather than to sit and compose an e-mail and then wait on the reply. These video conversations can be facilitated through mobile PC devices with built in video cameras or via a small USB camera which is normally inexpensive and easily carried. Another useful function of the Lync solution is the ability to see the presence of work colleagues and if they are available to receive an ‘instant message’ – like having a conversation via the keyboard – rather than sending an e-mail, waiting for an answer but not knowing if that person is at their PC, in the office or even available to communicate with – Lync makes this all possible.

Whether we like it or not we live in an age where speed and reaction to situations is critical. The use of today’s IT gives us peace of mind that if we are required to jump into work for a few minutes, we can still be down in good time for dinner on the hotel patio!

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