Edit MS Office Docs using MS Office from Google Drive

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One of the hurdles many face when moving to Google Apps is how to deal with MS Office. Some users feel they cannot live without some of the advanced formatting and features; others are concerned that they receive and work on MS Office documents received from others.

Until now, in order to edit MS Office documents in their native format, users had to download or sync files to their local disk or use the limited editing capabilities of the Chrome browser extension.   Both are less than ideals.

Can you click on a Word doc saved in Drive, have it open in Microsoft Word, and have the file save to Drive?  … YES!  Yes, you can!

With AODocs File Server and the AODocs SmartBar Extension for Chrome, you can use Drive in your Chrome browser, select and edit MS Office files, and have them save directly within Drive.  You can effectively replace Windows Explorer with Drive + AODocs.

Click Here to see a quick demo with Word.  The solution works for Excel and Powerpoint files, too.

Want to know more? Contact Us for a 1:1 demo of the full AODocs File Server solution.

Moving to the Cloud: Integration with Legacy Systems


Green_GaugeThis post is the sixth in a series addressing concerns organizations may have that prevent them from moving the cloud-based solutions.

Very few businesses go “all-in” when moving into the cloud.  Most businesses start their move into the cloud with specific applications and services.  For small and mid-size businesses, the trend is to go cloud with critical core services, such as email and calendaring, and/or applications, such as CRM.  Over time, businesses add additional applications and services, such as file services, and hosting of legacy applications and servers.

The result:  Most businesses have a hybrid environment of on-premise and cloud solutions.

For many businesses, this creates a new need to integrate existing systems with new cloud-based applications and services.

While this may seem overwhelming, the scope of the integration depends, in large part, how well your in-house systems integrate today.   For most small and mid-size businesses (SMBs), legacy application integration focuses on a few key features:

  • Email / Messaging:  Legacy applications and systems should be able to send notifications, alerts, and other messages.
  • Shared Storage:  Legacy applications may need to use cloud-based storage for data storing and sharing.  Depending on the need, direct access may be preferred to a sync solution.  Also, business applications often need locations in which to deliver reports and other automated output.  Still others may need to be able to link to documents saved in the file service.
  • Contacts:  Legacy applications, particularly those responsible for customer relationship management (CRM) functions (sales, support, service, marketing) will need to synchronize contact information in a way that does not result in duplicate data or data loss.  The same holds true for Enterprise Resource Process (ERP) and Professional Service Automation (PSA) systems.
  • Calendars / Events:  CRM, ERP, and PSA systems may also look to sync or manage calendars and events.  As with contacts, avoiding duplication and lost data is critical.
  • Data Import/Export:  Legacy systems may have the ability to import/export data from/to other systems.  In some instances, the import/export is manual or scripted to occur at specific intervals.  Some systems support automated synchronization or provide an interface for real-time data exchange.

When looking at cloud solutions, take a moment to research your current environment and needs:

  • What integration exists today?  Does it help or hinder?
  • What integration capabilities do legacy applications support that are not currently in use?  Would these be useful/helpful/meaningful?
  • What integration do you need, or want, to make your business more efficient?
  • What capabilities does the proposed cloud solution have for integration?  Can you leverage these to your advantage?  Is the cost of integration worth the potential benefits?

With a short assessment, organizations can determine if, when, and how to best integrate new, cloud-based solutions with legacy applications and systems.  As with any IT project, the focus should be on resulting business value.

Next Post in the Series:  Regulatory Compliance

Previous Post in the Series:  Lock-In

Gmail and Drive: Finally Together

The wait is over!  With the next release cycle of Google Apps, you will be able to insert/attach any file up to 10GB in size from Google Drive.   Rather than sending files which may exceed size limits on many email services, recipients receive a link and the ability to open or download the file via Google Drive (no account needed).

And, if you are sending a file to somebody without access permissions, the smart assistant will let you know.

For more info, visit the Official Gmail Blog.



Updated Google Directory Sync

This week, Google released an update to the Directory Sync Tool.

The release includes synchronization of passwords for new and existing users.  With this update, organizations can avoid the added expense of single sign-on solutions.

This update is available only for Premier, Education, and Partner Editions.  Click here to learn more.