For those of us who work in organisations that have a head office, regional offices and remote project sites, communicating across the business has always been an issue. Especially here in Australia where the expression “just down the road” can mean 500 klms.
OK we have the internet, mobile phones etc but transferring information from a coal mine site to head office is reliant on a “link” of some type. Too much data slows the link down, people get frustrated and resources are tied up. But now with cloud based computing we can change how communication can be speede up and with software like Sharepoint we can have a certain level of commonality within the company.
If you can log in to face book you can access Sharepoint. If you work in groups or project teams you can share information easily. If you manage groups or teams you can monitor what is going on no matter where it is taking place.
The biggest issue with Sharepoint is people taking it up and using it. Without adequate preparation and training staff assume it is “out of the box software” like Excel, when in fact it is a tool which can be easily developed to suit user requirements. So to implement it effectively we need to make it as essential as email. Interestingly, the “Facebook Generation” have no problems with this as it is just another site to surf. Some others who have not emraced the social network concept will need more assistance
Yes I have been one of the chosen few to be given an invite to try out Google+ or Google Plus. Please note you it is still in trial stages so you may not be able to it yet, but you can take the tour.
I won’t bore you with techno babble, the future of Facebook, the demise of Twitter or any other such nerdy nonsense.
But what I did find is an application that is ideal for those of us in construction.
Two of the core areas of Google plus are “circles” and “hangout”. Yes I know they sound very hipster and twee but what they allow you to do is to have a circle of colleagues, site managers, subcontractors, consultants, the PCG, which you determine and set up. Also, you can have up to 11 people on video link at the same time, high quality and completely free. The software determines who is talking and the main view then goes to that person.
The really interesting question will be for the Luddites who manage head offices and are scared the cadets maybe spending too much time twittering etc. You know the type of people who will waste their own time checking up on people who get paid less than a quarter of the manager’s pay.
Google+ will in time, be on everyone’s desktop and the social network and business network will become seamless. Just as our mobiles and emails keep coming outside office hours, weekends and holidays, the working day is not stretched it is all-consuming.
I bet most architects and designers will be up and running Google+ by the end of this month, but some builders might get their by 2020.