We recently did a roll out of our Cloud File Server service to a company of just under 150 people. The primary driver of this was federating data sources, governance and auditing of data, and the ability to edit files directly on iWork on the iPad.
For this use case we’ll concentrate on the latter, enabling ubiquitous document editing on the iPad using the Apple iWork product which encompasses Pages, Keynote and Numbers.
The company is a technology company in which different parts of the businesses use different Cloud Services. The core business admin and management uses Office365. Google Docs is used by the sales team, primarily as a way to share Google Docs files easily with their customers and prospects, whom they found to be predominately Google Docs users. DropBox is used by the tech team who like the ability to have replicated to all their code, tech papers etc instantly to any device.
Interestingly, whereas you would think this disparate use of similar Cloud storage services is an edge case, we find it is not. The storage vendor names may change, but the disparate number, of what appear to be, similar services remains.
When questioned about why they don’t use the other in-house services each team had a different USP as to why:
Tech Team: “With DropBox I don’t have to remember to bring my files. They are always with me”
Admin / Management: “Office365 works and Syncs with what I use like my Outlook task list and calendar”
Sales Team: “most of our customers use Google Apps, so sharing files with the Google Group we have setup for Sales is the best way to get new deals / propositions to them”
One thing this company has jointly bought into was iPad’s. They all used them and their preference was to use Apple iWork as their document editor as they liked it’s simplicity, ease of use, and WYSIWYG features. The problem was it did not work with any of their Cloud products.as it only supported iCloud, MobileMe and WebDav.
The company in question had already bought into the SME Cloud File Server. It enabled them to audit files above all the clouds they used and provide Organisation Shared folders that worked above a “set” of Clouds, giving them a single view on disparate resources.
As the SME Cloud File Server also supports a WebDav protocol adaptor above any Cloud, something we call CloudDav, then it became very easy for all the teams to create, load, edit, and save documents to either Google Docs, Office365, or DropBox.
The steps to achieve this were simple:
1. Launch Pages, Numbers or Keynote
2. Click the ‘+’ button and choose ‘Copy from Webdav’ (assume a doc is to be loaded)
3. Enter https://Webdav.smestorage.com as the server address and your smestorage username and password as authentication. This will then load the file tree and the clouds available to the account.
4. Tap on a document to load it and start editing
5. When finished just choose the “Copy to WebDAV” button and it will be saved.
In this way documents in Clouds not supported by iWork can be edited and saved.