Surface Pro 3 and Office 365


Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella has set out a clear strategy to transform Microsoft into a Services and Devices company. This transformation has been in the works for a few years now with the team in Redmond reinventing themselves and the way they do things. So what does this mean for us?

Rather than explain the technical and business in’s and out’s, I thought I would illustrate the new way of working by telling you about my day. For those of you who don’t know me, I am a business owner and IT Consultant.

Screen Shot 2014-10-13 at 8.30.37 pm

The “cloud” is at the core of our business. Office 365 for email, calendars, collaboration and document management, Xero for financials, JIRA for managing software projects and Dynamics CRM to support sales and marketing. We eat our own dog food using the tools we recommend to our clients.

This choice has allowed us to build a business that can operate from almost anywhere. In our first few weeks, it was from a kitchen table. These days it is from our offices, home, client sites, café’s, airports and even the car parked on the side of the road! All we need is an Internet connection and we’re ready for action.

Productivity to us, means being able to “sell” our time efficiently. This means being able to work from anywhere. That’s where the cloud helps us.

SharePoint

SharePoint provides our team with document management and collaboration capabilities. It’s the place we go for templates, contracts, statements of work, project and client documentation. No matter where we are, we can access our documents. Office Web Apps ensure we can edit documents and spreadsheets if we are accessing SharePoint from a device without Microsoft Office installed.

We also provide some of our clients with portal access for sharing documents, ensuring we are all working on the right version. Our clients love it and so does our Project Manager.

OneNote

OneNote might just be my new favourite application. It allows us to create and share “notebooks” with each other and our clients. Multiple people can contribute to the same notebook at the same time, making it a very useful tool for all sorts of tasks.

Notebooks are synchronised to SharePoint on Office 365 meaning they are accessible from anywhere that has an internet connection. The notebook can be updated from a web browser, laptop and even my iPhone.

Surface Pro 3

The Surface Pro 3 is Microsoft’s latest tablet / laptop device. The Surface Pro 3 has a larger screen, faster processor, better battery life and better keyboard than it’s predecessors. Unlike other tablets, it runs a fully functional version of Windows 8.1 Professional allowing it to run anything your Windows PC can run. I have a full version of Office 2013, various Windows VPN clients, Citrix, Vmware View, SharePoint Designer and Visual Studio. Did I mention, it weights in at just 800 grams?

The touch screen combined with Microsoft smart stylus (pen) and OneNote, makes the Surface a brilliant note taking tool. I can sketch up screen layouts and scribble down notes without paper. Now I have my notes with me anywhere I go rather than in a serious of paper note books and scraps of paper on my desk.

I should point out that I have used older Surface devices. The “3” is a major improvement and resolves any of the short comings of older devices. Better screen, keyboard and kick stand make this device a pleasure to use. Having said that, it still isn’t the perfect device for everyone, so try it before you buy it.

Conclusion

Combining “cloud” services with a versatile mobile device makes it possible to work from almost anywhere, with everything you need at your finger tips.

These tools combine to improve productivity by reducing downtime between jobs and ensuring we have the information we need when we need it. They make it easier to work from anywhere and keep us in touch with our team and customers.

That sums it all up for me. I’d be interested in hearing your experiences too.

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