I was recently preparing for a cross-country trip and I had to decide what to take. Normally it is necessary to bring several large binders of subject and reference material, but in between airline baggage restrictions and the need to travel light I didn’t want to take a lot of stuff. Fortunately, modern technology is on my side. I was able to send my documents on ahead of me electronically to print on-site courtesy copies for the client, and also to place a copy on my laptop and cell phone for instant access even when offline. While on-site the client requested documents that I did not have already with me. No problem, I was connected to Becht’s cloud data service that gives me access to all my files anywhere in the world. In the (hypothetical) event that I planned poorly and left a file on my office pc back home, I can connect to that too (via VPN).
The same tools I use for travel also enable Becht staff in far-flung locations to collaborate as one big office. We are all just 4 digits away on the VOIP desk phone, or a quick email or instant message. For example, anytime I need a document signed it can be signed electronically using Adobe Acrobat. If I have something too complex to explain over the phone (a thousand words…), I can share my computer desktop through Microsoft Lync and show them interactively on the screen. The world is a lot smaller, but at the same time it’s a lot bigger. We can easily expand into new markets, take advantage of local talent, or send our own people without the restrictions of the traditional office structure.
At this moment I’m “in the office”, somewhere over the midwest, returning from a job well done. Granted, working from an airplane seat will never have all the amenities and convenience of my own office, but it does have a great view. Now if only we could do something about those pesky time zones… : )