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The Cloud

RobertNH  Member

I can use some advise from those that use as to how to setup.

What has worked, what has not.

The first batch of Tablets is coming!
Windows based, as is our System.

Our system is built on Excel so moving to a .pdf System for payroll (or any daily's) seems wrong..
I'm not sure how that would intergrade.

Prints to the field seems easy enough.
It's the internals...
Payroll, Cost Controls and on it goes..

Those that are, please speak up.
I have an idea of how, yet would like to hear from you and your thoughts/experiences.

I'm hoping to avoid the mistakes of past.

3/10/16       #2: The Cloud ...
Gary B.


I suggest you slow down. This is a paradigm shift. First off, list your reasons for the move. Question the hype surrounding the "Cloud". Ask yourself what benefits you are looking to achieve out of this. You may find that some or most of the perceived benefits won't actually materialize for your situation. You say your system is excel based...You may find a simple dropbox or google drive setup will work well for you. I'll post more when I can.

3/10/16       #3: The Cloud ...

All of our drawings are outputted as PDFs and parked on a cloud based database.

The database can be accessed from an i-phone, desktop computer or from the shop via iPads.

The shop has a wireless printer for those occasions when it would be best to have a paper copy but for the most part the guys will just glance at the iPad for what they need.

The cloud based database make the information searchable and retrievable.
It also helps to establish priorities and monitor status. If you think of something that needs to be added the list can be instantly updated from anywhere on the planet.

3/10/16       #4: The Cloud ...
RobertNH  Member

The 'Cloud' is a generic term to me.
Again explain what's different.

It would pertain to any sort of 'DropBox' style system.
Well at least to me until I know the advantages of or dis-advantages of, each different system.

I'm looking for a way to move fillable forms to the site, not just .pdf's..
As I say, we're Excel based.

The forms we're building and seeing how in will be integrated.
It would be nice if we can remove the re-entry of what they all ready do and just 'plug it in'.

I've looked at systems (third party) that are out there, but that means changing our whole system.
We've spent much too much time and effort to get to the point we're at, and getting it to run this good, to throw it away and start again.
The 'Third Party Systems' just don't do what we need.

So, after all that, and if you're still reading..
Cloud, DropBox, Google, etc...
Plus? Minus?

If you're doing, what are you using?

3/10/16       #5: The Cloud ...
RobertNH  Member

The 'Cloud' based system makes a lot of sense to me.
Knowing from another thread you already do this, I am very pleased you chimed in.

Question to you is: Is you system based from your ISP or your Phone service, or Third Party (i.e. Dropbox, etc..).
If so, What would you change?

Next would be: Do you see any restriction, corruption of file of what you're doing so far?

Since we're installing your products (me speaking again generically), I'm working from office to site.
Rarely do I see a site now that does not have WIFI. Even if it requires getting to a window that faces the Jobsite trailer.
It has become far too easy to implement this.

3/10/16       #6: The Cloud ...


I am not sure if I understand your question(s).

Where I live in Seattle having access to the internet is relatively problem free. There is usually wifi available wherever we go but if not then the data plan just kicks in. For $30 a month we are completely independent of wifi.

Our database is hosted on a shared server located somewhere in Los Angeles. That connection has always been trouble free. We can access this database from a phone, an i-Pad or a desktop machine.

3/11/16       #7: The Cloud ...

We use dropbox for all business files and drawings. Basically, I use dropbox as my computers hard drive. This gives me access to anything as long as I have an internet connection.

What I assume you are asking isnt scary. Just sign up for dropbox, google drive, OneDrive, or whatever, then start saving your excel files there. Done, you're now using the cloud.

3/11/16       #8: The Cloud ...
Kerry Fullington

Microsoft One Note is the greatest thing I have run across in a long time. It was included with my upgrade to Windows 10 and is a free app for Android or Apple devices.
I purchased some $49 tablets to use in the shop (along with an app called App Lock which gives the office control of what employees can access on the device) or the information can also be accessed with a smart phone.
All of our job information, cut lists, and line drawings are kept there as well as links to Excel spreadsheets we use and appliance specs and customer idea photos.
One note syncs itself so any changes made by anyone is shared to everyone.
In the office we have this information on every computer, on tablets and on our phones. Our installer is also tied in.
Microsoft provides you 15 gigabytes of cloud storage when you create an account which so far has been enough for us.
One Note also provides tools to highlight, annotate and otherwise edit and mark up any information stored there and anyone on any device that has access to the account can make those changes with or without an internet connection. One Note will sync when it finds a connection.

Microsoft One Note

3/11/16       #9: The Cloud ...
RobertNH  Member

Sounds to me that your ISP based on your 'Cloud'.

What I mean is not 'Third Party' like DropBox (or some many of the others out there).

We have a Business Plan with our ISP (in our case Comcast) and looking into what they can offer us for what dollar.
A Rep is coming by next Tuesday to discuss our requirements.

It's sounding like you are having no issues in what you are currently doing.

3/11/16       #10: The Cloud ...


The "cloud" is just a metaphor.
Your information does ricochet off some satellite in cyberspace. It's really just fiber optic cables that connect your device with a server located somewhere.

I think you would do best to follow JM's advice.

Sign up for a dropbox account. They will give you 5 MB storage for free. Put a sample file into your dropbox account and practice opening it from several devices.

This approach will de-mystify the "cloud".

3/11/16       #11: The Cloud ...
RobertNH  Member

@ JM & Kerry
First, thank you for your responses.
I'm absorbing all the information I can as we step forward in this direction.

Our main concern is excess to our server.
As a 'Cloud' based system, it seems to me it is completely separate and in no way does anyone even get near our server. Any information posted is in a separate location and only drawn in by us, at the Office.

This does sound like a VPN to me.
That was my main concern.

3/11/16       #12: The Cloud ...
David Waldmann  Member

Website: vermonthardwoods.com

"Basically, I use dropbox as my computers hard drive. This gives me access to anything as long as I have an internet connection."

Actually, it's quite a lot better than that. Whenever your devices are connected to the internet, they are updated to the latest copies and versions. So even if you are offline you will have access to the more recently updated version. Granted, if you make a change to a file while you're not connected, and someone else does the same, you will get a Conflicted File Version error. But if you're just using it as information, you are golden.

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