Dan Scarfe, Founder of New Signature UK, a Microsoft partner specialising in Azure and the Microsoft cloud, picks five items he uses every day and couldn’t function without
1. OneDrive from Microsoft
Everyone knows about the co-authoring possibilities with Google. Now Microsoft has caught up and, in my opinion, the co-authoring capability in Office apps on the desktop is even better than a browser. I use Microsoft’s OneDrive every day to work on proposals and presentations for customers and use that co-authoring capability to get things done quickly.
OneDrive gives me a place online to keep all my documents – in fact, I don’t do anything on local copies anymore. For me, one of its main benefits is that everything is available on any device. I use a couple of devices throughout the day and my OneDrive documents are accessible on both; I can edit things easily on my mobile, and it just really works.
I guess it realises the vision that everyone has talked about for years, of being able to access work whenever and wherever. This summer, I worked outside as much as I could and was able to change Powerpoint decks and update Word docs while enjoying the sunshine. I couldn’t have done that a couple of years ago.
When I presented at Microsoft’s Future Decoded conference, I worked with a number of presenters on a really massive file stored up in OneDrive. We all worked on it in parallel and I could get to it from any device and make changes in a completely seamless way.
2. Teams from Microsoft
Teams is my number one tool right now. It lets me build on 1:1 collaboration and bring different groups of people together in different channels for separate projects and different work topics.
It is a single platform that brings together Outlook, Chat, Skype, documents and the Office apps with integrated telephony. I can just go into a Teams site and all my docs are there, along with instant messaging and a conferencing capability with my colleagues. I just love the way it makes communicating and collaborating with colleagues so easy. It has taken away reliance on email and replaced it with real-time chat channels. You can start to see the number of emails dropping and being replaced by chats around particular topics.
One of the best things about Teams is that you can bring people in from outside organisations to collaborate and work on projects. This is brilliant when we have customer projects with two or three partners involved. It’s a terrific way to open up communication within the business and with external stakeholders and it allows you to see activity that you might not have seen before, because it didn’t warrant an email. I find it empowering, as I can drop in and out of lots of conversations and activities very easily – as and when I’m needed.
3. Microsoft Launcher
Microsoft Launcher is still relatively new. It has only been available for six to 12 months, but it makes a massive difference to me. Basically, it allows anyone who has an Android phone to have the full Microsoft PC experience on their phone. It takes over the whole of Android and becomes your Microsoft operating system. It is so much more just having Office apps on your phone; it natively integrates everything including your Outlook calendar, OneDrive for access to docs you are working on, as well as seamlessly integrating Windows features like Cortana for voice assistance. Everything is built-in. I couldn’t do my job without it because it makes my Microsoft world available to me on my phone. It’s slick, integrated and saves me a hell of a lot of time every day!
4. Huawei P20 Pro
I literally couldn’t do anything without my phone. It is the single piece of hardware that makes all the other tools hang together and, like most people these days, it is the item I have on me at all times. What I really love about it, is its battery life. Gone are the days when I have to carry a charger around with me. Even using it as my main communication tool for phone, email and video conferencing and for watching video, which I do when I’m travelling, the battery is brilliant. I love the design and I also love the camera quality. When people say, can you remember the days when you had a separate camera, I do. When I got this phone, that definitely changed.
5. Stojo collapsible mug
I often work long hours chatting to and working with colleagues around the globe and most days need a caffeine fix to keep me going. I love good coffee. I also love the planet and, wherever possible, I try to think about the impact of my choices. One of my best eco finds is my Stojo collapsible mug. I just don’t understand why everyone doesn’t have one. It comes in loads of colours and when you’re not using it, it folds up, so it takes up no space. And you get a discount on the coffee you buy, so it pays for itself in a matter of weeks. What’s not to like?