Can SugarSync Save Your Company Document Pain?

I got a demo earlier this week of SugarSync‘s new features, then Kevin over at jkOntheRun beat me to the punch with his features announcement post (SugarSync Adds Email Attachment Uploads, 500 GB Plan). Like Kevin, I agree that these new features are a good thing. But unlike Kevin, I have yet to actually start using SugarSync.

Each time I hear, think or blog about SugarSync, I feel the pain of my virtual team. I hang my head in shame because, yes, we still use back-and-forth emails with attached documents with painstakingly modified file names so we know who made the changes and when. We also have started sending deliberate, emphatic emails to each project team saying “I am now giving up this document. So and so is the Keeper of This Document.”

To say that our process is antiquated is being kind. To say that it is inefficient, confusing, and painful is more like it. So once again, I experience a demo of SugarSync and get into a great discussion with the company’s CEO Laura Yecies about work process, document sharing, backups and working in the cloud. I want what she’s selling, but I’m also feeling a different kind of pain: The Pain of Adopting New Applications and Processes.

Anyone who has started and grown a company will tell you how some of the greatest challenges come as you add more people and your processes must change, but you’re so entrenched in “the way we do things” that you can’t seem to budge. The beauty of small companies like ours is that we can be nimble and flexible for our customers. But when your company is small and growing rapidly, internal flexibility can stall.

How Does SugarSync Compare to DropBox?

One of the applications my company uses now and then for file sharing and, more recently, in document versioning is Dropbox. While we like the “instant” file sharing for large files, I’m not convinced it is the way to go for sharing files that will experience further revisions over time, mostly because there isn’t a revision history. If you move something into your DropBox, the new version is now available to anyone you’ve shared the DropBox folder with and you cannot go back to an older version unless you change the file name before sharing.

SugarSync keeps a version history and renames new versions in the cloud for you to return to older documents.

DropBox is great for desktop and web working, but SugarSync beats it in terms of mobile access. SugarSync has set out to cover a set of processes that I think confounds many companies: Sync, Share, Access (including mobile). And it doed these things instantly and securely, whereas DropBox requires specific actions.

The Business level of SugarSync gives administrative controls such as adding and removing users at any time and setting specific access and storage limitations for each team member. With DropBox, I have to always remember that if I move something into my DropBox, it is now “gone” from my own computer files and now resides in the DropBox. With SugarSync, your files stay on your computer but sync into the cloud as well.

How Can SugarSync Ease the Pain?

I posed this question to Yecies on our call: “What do you say to people who are hesitant to adopt a new technology because they’re overloaded?”

Her reply resonated with me. “It’s easy to get started.”

Easy? I’m there. I signed up for the 2GB Free plan that allows only two users to sync and share to test the waters.

Here’s a summary of the benefits of SugarSync that I find immediately attractive for my own global virtual team:

  • Our data is accessible across multiple devices and platforms.
  • We can upload to SugarSync with email, which is already a tool we most commonly use anyway.
  • Administrative controls helps us manage data per team member i.e. “selective sync” capabilities.
  • It cuts out the need to same something locally and then to a pre-determined folder to share.
  • It works behind-the-scenes so we don’t have to remember to do something to trigger syncing or sharing.

I’m sure as I start actually using SugarSync, I’ll uncover additional benefits, but when an app and service comes out that already has a lot of useful features going for it, resistance is futile.

How are you sharing and syncing your files with your team?

Photo by stock.xchng user amandaism

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