Moving to the Cloud
Many companies greatly benefit from embracing cloud computing technology – and Smartwave is no exception. When you work with a scattered array of consultants, clients, and even employees, the need for a central focus point for file storage and sharing is understandable. I needed a flexible method for file collaboration, that wasn’t overly complicated.
While there are a lot of options out there (such as Sugarsync, MobileMe, and Dropbox, for example), they just weren’t working in the way I had envisioned. I kept looking and eventually found…
Box.net – A Great Synchronization Tool
Box.net hit the nail on the head: with this tool, we could finally facilitate true collaboration through a synchronized central file tree location, where our files were both synchronized and accessible. Plus, you can also track multiple versions of a document over time. For example, if you’re working on a letter, you simply save it and it uploads a new version right to the server. The result is a full history of one document, via multiple copies.
The Need to Organize
So once we decided on this centralized tool, we quickly realized that we couldn’t benefit from it until we implemented a simple file organization system with standardized naming conventions. Without a file system in place, you risk wasting surprisingly large amounts of time and energy; too much time is spent searching for oddly named files or trying to decipher another coworker’s personal file arrangement.
So we said: Forget it! Let’s put together a really simple structure that makes sense, and therefore works easily for everyone. And no, we didn’t get it quite right the first time, but eventually the little effort we put in up front now pays off on a daily basis.
File Organization Basics
- We have a single location for everything in the cloud at Box.net.
- We have one folder for each client - everything and anything related to that client remains in that folder.
- We have one folder for Smartwave – so all internal documents reside in one location.
- Underneath each client is one folder for each topic/project and the structure of this file tree is the same for every client.
- For example, you could use one folder for each of the following categories for each client: Administration Only Docs, Initiatives, Reference Material, Billable Work, Employee Info, Logo and Brand Info, Meeting Notes, Policies and Procedures, Systems Info, Templates, etc.
- Each filename contains useful, easily searchable information: the client name, the document name and the type of document, at minimum.
Sometimes naming conventions and file structures can seem innate, but they’re actually the exact opposite, because each individual employs a system that works best for their individual needs. When you take the time up front to define what system will work best for everyone in the group/company, you’ll find that it saves and lot of time, money and headaches in the long run.