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The End Of The Attachment?

The end of the Attachment?

A colleague emailed me a document today asking me to comment on it. I refused to open it, and asked him (in the nicest possible way!) if he would send me a link. At the time it felt like I was just being belligerent – it’s been a long week, after all! However, I felt shamed into justifying to myself why seeing the attachment had caused a sigh and shake of the head. It wasn’t just that we’re a company that makes a living from showing people how best practice Office 365 techniques. It was a genuine sense that being asked to review the attachment was going to make my life more difficult. Compare:
  • Receive a link to a document on SharePoint/OneDrive
  • Click the link and open the document in Word Online
  • Make changes – add comments. This is done in the knowledge that I’m seeing any changes that the other person asked to review it has made, and that all my work is stored as a new version of the document. No need to save the document as this is done automatically.
  • Skype my colleague to tell him changes are done.
  • That’s it.
  • Receive an email with the attachment
  • Double click the document to open it in Word
  • Make changes, wondering if I’m repeating the work of the other reviewer
  • Save the document temporarily somewhere on my PC
  • Go to the original email, write a reply, find the document and attach it. Send back to colleague.
  • Delete temporary file from my PC, or find somewhere to store it
  • Note that my colleague now has two sets of modifications (from myself and the other reviewer) that he has to merge into the original document.
  • Note also that I will never see the comments that the other reviewer made, and never see the final document.
Very quietly, cloud working has changed the way that I expect to work, and it has done it by giving me very real improvements in both efficiency and process. And that’s how improvements happen. No amount of cajoling and insisting will make people change their habits. Showing them tools that make their work-lives easier will win every time.
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