Showing posts with label Cloud Integrator. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cloud Integrator. Show all posts

Friday, January 22, 2016

Google FTW! - Why you should go all cloud

One of the most important decisions a business needs to make when switching from a legacy email system to cloud-based email is whether or not to support the variety of different operating system and email client combinations that require unnecessary amounts of troubleshooting. These legacy clients can chew through cost savings from the initial changeover in a matter of weeks while IT staff work out syncing problems, broken updates, and other issues that crop up all too often.

With a true cloud-based solution like Google Apps, there's no need to worry about whether a new update to the platform will break compatibility for anyone since everything runs simply within a browser window. If you have a browser, which is pretty much anywhere on any device nowadays, you have your business at your fingertips. While Google Apps does offer support for traditional email clients such as Outlook, Mac Mail, and Thunderbird, use of these applications limits both the overall ability and feature set of the robust cloud system. It's unwise to overlook the versatility of using the entire Google ecosystem together, as doing this hinders productivity and restricts a business' potential.

If you're a Google Apps user, all your work is automatically saved in the cloud. You have access to your email, calendar, contacts, documents, sites, and are able to work securely, regardless of where you are in the world or what device you use, as long as you have an internet connection. There's offline integration as well so you can view and edit your files even without an internet connection. This empowers you and your organization to be productive from virtually anywhere on almost any device. You can attend a meeting from your kids soccer game, edit a spreadsheet on a flight, or respond to an email from your local library's public computer - Google Apps makes it easy to stay connected to projects you're working on and with the people you are working with.

Ask yourself if your current legacy system is working to your advantage? How can you improve your IT infrastructure? Google Apps let you work faster and smarter by making it easy to collaborate with employees, partners, vendors, and customers. For example, you can edit and share all your files including docs, sheets, and slides in real time, saving you from emailing multiple versions. Google Apps also saves you the costs you would pay to purchase, install, integrate, maintain, update, and troubleshoot legacy systems. When everything is in the cloud, it simply just works!

We at InterlockIT have certified Google Apps Deployment Specialists and thoroughly understand how to get your IT solutions to work for you! We provide deployment management, technical setup, data migration, user training, system integration, custom scripting, support, and best practices to make the Google experience work efficiently and effectively for you. Contact us today to book your ticket to the cloud!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Google Drive plugin for Microsoft Office - Open Drive files directly in Microsoft Office

Google recently released a Drive plugin for Microsoft Office that allows you to open files from Google Drive directly in Microsoft Office, without the Google Drive sync client. If you're a Drive loyalist who happens to love using Office, this tool can make your life easier!

The plugin makes it easy to edit Office files stored in Google Drive so you can use the apps that you're already comfortable with. This is especially useful when sharing files with others or accessing your files across devices. Google's idea here is to continue to make Drive into more of an integrated storage tool for its users. Alternatively, you can just use Google's desktop application for Drive to sync locally stored files with Google Drive already, but the new plugin makes this a far more seamless experience for Office users.

The set-up is quite simple and familiar: anyone running Office on Windows can now open Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents stored in Google Drive, edit them locally in Office apps, and then save any changes back to Drive. This will allow you to keep all your important files in one place, without needing to have a dedicated folder on your computer that syncs everything to the web.

If you have a slow or unreliable internet connection, this plugin can help smooth out the bumps by only syncing what you're currently working on, not everything that's changing behind the scenes.

Try it out today!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Microsoft Cloud touches down in Canada!

Last week, Microsoft made a game-changing announcement: Microsoft will be opening two Canadian data centres that will offer Office 365, Azure, and Dynamics CRM services.

Our team here at Interlock IT has been leading Office 365 implementations since 2010 and has noticed a dramatic increase in interest from our clients in moving infrastructure to the Microsoft Cloud.

There are some compelling reasons to switch your email or Exchange Server to the cloud; whether you want the latest and greatest updates, Microsoft's subscription-based licensing models, or are trying to reduce costly infrastructure overhead. There is also the incentive of exclusive services and capabilities only available through the cloud, like Yammer, an enterprise social networking service, Delve. machine learning and artificial intelligence which helps you discover what's most relevant and important to you, and Office 365 Video, an intranet-style website portal to post and view videos in your organization. It is a mobile-first, cloud-first age in which Microsoft's cloud-centric roadmap for its flagship products will pave the way for you to stay ahead of the competition. This is the platform you want to be on.

However before this great announcement, the fact that infrastructure and data would be based outside of Canada and potentially subject to foreign laws and regulations such as the PATRIOT Act would sometimes dismiss consideration of the cloud for many of our clients. To have data located outside of Canadian borders is violation of some company's policies and therefore a sticking point. This has been a cloud deterrent for many, until now.

Some key points to note:
  • General availability of Azure is anticipated in early 2016, followed by Office 365 and Dynamics CRM Online in late 2016.
  • The data centers are to be located in the Greater Toronto Area and Quebec City (specific locations have not been announced for security reasons.)
  • Microsoft will address data residency considerations (you can specify that your data will only reside in Canada.)
Can existing Office 365 tenants be transferred into the Canadian data centers? Will the pricing model be proportionate? Will performance be as robust? Will updates be released on the same schedule? All these questions come to mind and we anticipate answers in the coming months. Microsoft is finally ready to plant its flag on Canada's growing cloud industry as it hopes businesses will invest more in its ideas than its hardware and we begin to see a new dawn of cloud computing within our borders.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

How Google Apps for Business Turned Cobblestone Into an Even More Efficient HR Machine

Employing client-tailored solutions that are unique in a crowded marketplace, Cobblestone Human Capital is a recruitment and HR optimization firm trusted by some of Canada’s top employers, Fortune 500 multinationals and companies across North America and in Europe. Empowering clients with tools, knowledge, experience and support, Cobblestone ( drives the success of diverse organizations by helping them to recruit top talent and efficiently manage their human resources at a fraction of the cost of traditional solutions.


Information Technology (IT) is a critical part of what they do.

Being highly experienced, knowledgeable experts, Cobblestone’s employees operate independently and remotely, yet still function as a team to deliver the various components of any HR mandate. Keeping a widely dispersed staff continually in the loop demands both real-time access to information and easy contact with each other.

The Dark Ages

Unfortunately, this demand was increasingly not being met. As Cobblestone’s business grew, so too did the strain on their antiquated backend systems.

The company’s technology was old school. Server-based applications, individual user licenses, constant IT fixes: not a cloud in sight.

Specifically, managing client information was a chore. The team accessed their CRM via virtual private network (VPN), which led to constant delays and lost time. Giant headaches were the norm, usually caused by repeated banging of heads to walls. It was such a hassle accessing the shared server that staff sometimes didn’t enter key information in a timely fashion. As you can imagine, for a client-focused business like Cobblestone, incomplete or inaccurate CRM is deadly.

Furthermore, the CRM required individual licenses specific to each employee’s operating system. Not only was this costly, it required constant IT supervision. Not a week would go by without a service call from an IT specialist to fix the latest glitch.

And nothing talked with anything else. Client management, invoicing and accounting, all handled by standalone apps, sat in separate silos. So huge amounts of time were wasted shifting between each system and trying to ensure consistency across them.

IT had become a constant distraction. It was affecting business relationships and the bottom line. Staff were fed up with inefficiencies that were making business and project administration more challenging than it needed to be. Something had to give.

The Clouds Part

Being an HR shop, Cobblestone’s leaders listened to their team. They recognized that growing the business while continuing to deliver maximum value to clients warranted a complete rethink of their IT systems.

Cobblestone expertise lies in HR & recruitment, not IT. Of course, its people have a firm grasp of the technologies that can power an effective backend. But when it comes to implementing specific solutions, they knew it was critical to turn to outside experts.

Enter Blair Collins at His task was to pick up where Sheepdog (a cloud computing consultant) left off. He worked to help Cobblestone redesign their IT systems, with a goal to streamline all their processes, from CRM to communications, to invoicing and accounting.

Blair worked with Cobblestone to build on the foundations of Google Apps for Business deployed by SheepDog. This provided the platform through which various applications now connect and work seamlessly together. He also made informed recommendations on which third-party apps to consider for managing sales prospects, billing clients and keeping track of finances.

Thanks to Blair’s good work and sage advice, Cobblestone’s operations now hum along nicely:

  • Team members connect through conference calls within Google Hangouts.
  • Incoming calls, including those to the toll-free number, are routed through a VoIP system.
  • And through API connections and single sign-on, Cobblestone’s Google Apps link to its other cloud-based applications: Solve360 for CRM; Freshbooks for invoicing; Xero for accounting; and Compas for ATS.
  • A change made in one application is immediately communicated to and reflected in other relevant apps. So for example when a client pays an invoice, the CRM and accounting data gets updated accordingly, and notifications get sent via email to the right team members.

Critically, the ancient server got the boot. Everything has moved to the cloud, ensuring that information is accessible in real-time, wherever and whenever needed.

And just as importantly, costs have dropped significantly. It’s less expensive to use Google Apps and other solutions than the old system. And with the efficiencies made possible by the change, team members spend less time managing information and more time on servicing clients. Cobblestone can in turn pass savings on to clients, who benefit from rates up to fifty percent below the competition’s.

All in all, these changes have given Cobblestone the edge it needs to focus on delivering HR and Recruitment value to clients.

Case Study in Google Doc format