Cloud

Context: The cornerstone of productivity

This sponsored post is produced by Jay Zaveri VP of Product for CloudOn.

Today, productivity apps are everywhere – in businesses, educational institutions, government organizations and even homes, with 1.2 billion people using them. From creating documents to reviewing information; from modifying files to presenting content; from communicating via email to visualizing data, the applications we rely on have existed solely on our PC’s for over twenty years. Now as the mobile revolution takes off, work and life-changing content creation tools are being developed from a “mobile first” perspective by the likes of CloudOn, Quick Office and Docs2Go. These trailblazers are providing new ways to create, review, and present content across all devices.

Content creation on multiple devices is important, but something’s clearly missing — documents are still held in “silos.” Creating them using tools and features that were only designed to work alone is a less than ideal experience. There is a better way.

What’s stopping this march toward 21st century productivity?

Documents, documents everywhere!

Our documents reside in too many different locations. The fact that the document is an artifact that gets copied, revised, and edited does not help. And as more devices are used and the document gets shared with even more people, the more the problem compounds itself. There are over 22 billion “valuable” office documents created annually, putting in perspective the level of fragmentation we are dealing with.

E-mail noise

The average business worker gets 110 e-mails a day, and 120 billion e-mails are exchanged every day. If that weren’t enough, many of them contain attachments in the form of documents, spreadsheets, and presentations that require actions.

E-mail was modeled on real paper mail, built as a general-purpose delivery mailbox where all your communication comes in. It has quickly become our primary communication tool, but it wasn’t created to manage information in general, and it is particularly hard to organize or act on content. If you took a penny from everyone that complained they couldn’t find a document in e-mail, you’d be worth billions.

What happened to my content?

A file is a very lonely artifact that comes with little context. There is no historical information to track its flow. This leads to fragmented answers for questions like – did the person I shared my document with open it? Was it reviewed? Can I assign a task for someone to review it? If it was edited, what was changed?

In today’s world, where digital social interactions and workflow needs in the workplace are complex, this lack of context is the biggest barrier to maximizing productivity, resulting in 120 billion dollars in wasted time and effort on an annual basis.

How can we overcome these barriers?

Conquer ‘context’!

Ubiquitous, easy-to-use content creation tools have brought increased productivity to individuals over the past 20 years. For a while, e-mail helped push that productivity even further. However, with more files than ever being created, stored and shared in various ways (and on different devices), the capability to remain contextually organized is becoming increasingly difficult.

Enter “context” through an “information-centric” social network:

Share files: The capability to quickly and easily share files in today’s cloud-based environment is an important first step. We see information fragmentation slowly giving way to centralized team storage.

Create better workflow through activity streams: A “context” activity stream augments each file and extends the value of documents so they contain social information, preserve workflows, and bring greater capabilities to promote team productivity and collaboration.

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Track objects and be informed: The document is the core object with an activity stream of changes, updates, and events associated with it (yes, it’s like social meets the document!). However, each document has granular objects like slides, pages, sheets, charts, images, and equations, and each of these objects undergo change. In order to bring value to an individual, the capability to capture changes that occurred on these objects is critical. Who was involved? When did these changes occur? What changed and where? This keeps each person aware of the activity and events and allows them to be referenced at any time.

Engage in conversations: Conversations and comments bring additional value to the activity stream. Being able to start a conversation around any document — or commenting on any event in the activity stream — enables users to move important communication related to documents out of e-mail and into a space where they are always readily available – no more “It must be lost in my e-mail!”

Tasks and reminders for everything: Facilitate easy task creation and assign tasks to others — with notifications and reminders that keep you aware of any critical events related to a file. Staying informed enables you to respond in the shortest time possible.

Give me relevance: As with any social environment, it’s important to present contextual information that is relevant to a user through machine-learned or user curating. 

Let me navigate quickly: It’s easy to navigate through the activity streams of the most relevant documents. If you find something that was changed in paragraph 72 that needs your immediate attention, clicking or tapping on the activity stream can open the file directly to that paragraph. The capability to quickly switch between context in the activity stream and content in the document makes work a breeze!

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Overall, by adding this layer of contextual intelligence, the file is no longer that lonely artifact. It becomes a central hub for content creation where conversations, comments, and changes are always available. With the right balance of machine-learned and user-curated context creation, you can put the “social” into productivity, setting documents free and bringing greater team efficiency to our everyday lives.


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