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5 benefits of Synergy Cloud Services

Cloud means different things to different people and businesses – some embrace it, like Total Synergy has itself, others shy away for various reasons. The fact is, it’s a strategic business opportunity small businesses have to consider if they’re to remain competitive in a changing technological landscape.

Our 2014 national conference identified technology and collaboration as two key drivers of change for the AEC industry (check out the keynote presentation from Sue Holliday - economist, city planner, professor of practice planning at UNSW, and former director general of planning for NSW). Cloud is the enabler of collaboration for built environment designers and service providers.

We developed Synergy Cloud Services in 2012 to help our clients gain efficiency, security and mobility benefits.
Here are the top five benefits Synergy clients get from cloud services:

1. Disaster recovery.

Disaster recovery is a service offered free by Total Synergy for Synergy Cloud Services users. Joining Synergy Cloud Services means creating a back-up copy of your database in cloud storage that syncs every 15 minutes (on Microsoft Azure – one of the largest cloud infrastructure providers in the world).

Why is this important? Well, if you suffer a server failure, back-up failure, virus infection, physical environment disaster (bush fire, flood, massive storm… the sort of things we see pretty often in Australia) then you can rest assured that you won’t lose any critical project data.

“We don’t need this, we have back-ups” we hear you cry. Yeah? Check this out – LVO Architects had a double RAID 5 set up (considered about as secure a setup as you can get for small business servers), along with tape-drive back-ups. They had a total failure of their servers and discovered tape drive back-ups were corrupted. Synergy disaster recovery fully restored their whole Synergy database within 24 hours. Read the story here.

LVO-server-crash

The stories not told… One client company lost 30 days of project data and timesheets because of a virus. No back-up to fix that. 80 project staff had to re-enter timesheets for a whole month just to get the billing back on track. Another company lost 300 projects due to catastrophic server failures. No back-ups. That’s a near terminal failure for a small business.

2. Mobility

Synergy Cloud Services is not only about database back-ups in the cloud. It also offers online timesheets and expenses, access to project notes and contacts, and support/account management on the go. All of this happens through the web application which you can use on desktop, laptop, tablet and smartphone. This means you’re no longer tied to a desk and can enter timesheets on the go – in a taxi, on a bus or train, in a queue, at lunch, on project site, at home, or anywhere you can get an internet connection.

Bamser Engineering’s Teresa Miller says mobile timesheets help their team who spend most of their time on site. It saves time in not having to get back to the office to log time and expenses.

“Getting access to timesheets remotely has been a big support to our staff,” she says.

“Staff are able to enter their time and expenses saving us time chasing details/receipts for inclusion with our monthly invoices.”


3. Device agnostic

Device agnostic is a term that means you can access Synergy Cloud Services on any browser enabled device. It also means the web application is what’s called mobile responsive; where the web interface adapts to the size of the device you’re using for an optimal user experience. In other words, the screen you see on your desktop is the same one you see on your smartphone, it’s not a separate ‘app’. Try it – drag your Synergy Cloud Services browser window to a smaller size on your desktop and see what happens.

 

4. International collaboration 

One of the less widely reported uses of Synergy Cloud Services is that of recording timesheets for international contractors/collaborators. For example, if you get some drafting done by an Australian registered contractor based in London, he can simply login to Synergy Cloud Services (via a login you have provided) and record timesheets against a project without the need for Synergy to be installed anywhere nearby. We have even heard of clients where these contractors are using Synergy’s timesheets to output their billable time for invoicing locally. Quite useful.

5. Regional employees, contractors and site-based offices

One of our larger clients, Inhabit, has quite a number of staff working in China. It’s pretty hard to support installed software in China, so the project teams based there use Synergy Cloud Services exclusively for timesheets and accessing contacts and project notes. Another way this benefits clients in when they have Project Management offices established at client sites where the firewall’s restrict connections to external networks (e.g. airports, hospitals, etc). With Synergy Cloud Services no system connection is required, just login through your browser and fill the timesheets in. Simple.


If you want to know more about moving your company onto Synergy Cloud Services, get in touch with the Synergy services team on 02 8197 9000.