Collaboration using Google
The frustration of version after version!
If you are working on a project within a team, there is often the need for several people to be working on a document at once. Whether you are working remotely, or even as part of a team in an office, there is a common frustration around how work is shared between collaborators.
- Do you make your changes and update the version number in your word document and re-save into a shared drive?
- Do you recirculate it by email, resulting in masses of emails with different version numbers?
- Have you updated something only to find that a colleague updated a previous version whilst you were doing the same and now you don’t know what they added?
And they didn’t track the changes, did they? Frustrating.
I have recently been working on projects where it was helpful for the business owner that I was working with to be able to see what I was doing as I went along, effectively seeing the document being updated ‘live’. Google Sheets and Google Docs are very similar to Microsoft Excel and Word (although more basic in their functionality) and it doesn’t take long to find your way around them.
Case Study – Mortgage Consultant
The first instance was a mortgage consultant who I was working with on her commission spreadsheet, she wanted me to be able to add details of commissions paid, working remotely, whilst also being able to add new cases to the document as she signed up new clients We looked into various different file sharing solutions, as well as DropBox but so many of these required numerous logins and passwords and it was making an easy task cumbersome. So we decided on Google Drive. After setting up a shortcut to Drive on her desktop, and adding a folder in her name, I gave her access to the section of Drive. Then we uploaded the commission sheet in Excel and opened it in Google Sheets – and then we were able to work on the document at the same time. Google Sheets also saves automatically every few seconds so there was no forgetting to save, no need to save different versions or be emailing versions to one another. Simple and it has really worked well. The great thing is that it shows us if we are both in the document at the same time, and also shows who last updated the document and when.
“Google Drive tells you who last updated the document and when”
Case Study – Marketing Consultant
The second example of how I have worked collaboratively has been with a Marketing Consultant who travels a lot and has a lot of projects on the go at once. Again, Google Drive was the solution here. I created a folder for the client in Drive and then sub-folders for each project. Giving access to the high level folder also give someone access to all the folders within it unless you change the permissions within each folder. I could then do the required research, adding data to Google Sheets or Google Docs as I went along. The client could access the data, using it to create proposals for clients live as the data arrived, whether he was at home or on the train, in the UK or overseas.
This has also been useful as some projects require collaboration by other parties too, and either I or the client can give another person access to a specific folder, so they can work on it too.
“Several people can have access to the document, and work on it, at once”
Google Drive is easily accessed on a desktop, tablet or smartphone meaning that it is very flexible. It is cloud based and so as long as the client has WiFi, they can access any of the documents. If they know they will be out of WiFi for a while, the files can be downloaded and then when they are back on line, they can access the live file again.
How do you collaborate? Have you tried Google and love it, or hate it? Prefer DropBox or something else? What makes your life easier? Let me know.
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If you’d like us to talk to you about how Google Drive might work for your business, call us on 07814 218142 or email firstname.lastname@example.org