Learn and Lead

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Challenges with the Cloud

In the recent few months, I have encountered situations that required multi-location teams to collaborate and customers requiring almost real-time status update. I have tried to encourage usage of the “cloud” for the team spread across locations working on the same documents/spreadsheets. We have SharePoint Server as an option but that’s mostly used as file storage, if at all. I have explored Google Docs and Zoho. However for some reason working on the cloud just hasn’t take off. Here are the challenges I face with cloud computing:
  1. INERTIA: We just aren’t really used to working on the cloud. Change is always hard and we just fall back on ways of working that we are comfortable with. It is always easier to simply email the document. It is easier to work just double click the document and start editing it rather than log on to the separate system in the browser and then navigate to the folder to edit the document.
  2. NO INTEGRATION WITH EXISTING SYSTEMS: Using Google Docs or Zoho was hard because of lack of integration with existing systems. For example, we don’t always have a list of Gmail IDs for everyone in the team. This means an additional step to make the collaboration document accessible to all. Each cloud service requires a different login ID and password than the regular network sign-on on the machine.
  3. ACCESSIBILITY AND SPEED: Many of our team members are traveling and are on the road so to speak. They don’t always have access to the Internet. So having documents on the cloud severely handicaps their ability to access the documents when there is no Internet connectivity. And working off the Net is slower than working off the local machine.
  4. SECURITY FEARS: While we explored Google Docs and Zoho, there were fears whether we should actually store our company and client data on the cloud. While I am personally very confident that Google and Zoho will safeguard data stored on their server, there is still an inherent fear of putting up company and client data on their servers.  Perhaps this fear is to do with the added responsibility that the individuals don’t own the data. There is no problem in having personal emails and chat on these servers, but putting company data on the cloud is just too much added responsibility.
  5. LACK OF OFFICIAL ITS EVANGELISM: While we have SharePoint Server available to us, it is primarily used as file storage (if at all) rather than a real-time collaborative tool. Even with our SharePoint Server installation, there’s very little official ITS support available. There’s no one really evangelizing cloud collaboration as the new way of working. I would look for the ITS team providing awareness about official tools available and training on how to use them. This has to be driven by having cloud collaboration as part of the ITS strategy. I think this is the biggest hurdle to cross if cloud computing is to be embraced.

MBTI Insights

I am going through a leadership workshop and as part of that, we took the MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator) questionnaire. I have taken this questionnaire a few times before and have sat through sessions explaining the concept of physiological types. This time however our facilitator Santosh Babu provided some interesting perspectives and insights into the test.

There’s a difference between type and trait. Type is who you really are. However trait is something that you demonstrate. I think when I filled the questionnaire, I answered questions according to the traits I demonstrate, or perhaps even the traits I want to/need to demonstrate. When our facilitator explained the different types, I felt I was quite different from type that the questionnaire identified for me.

The E-I Dichotomy
The Extraversion-Introversion dichotomy is primarily about how you use your energy. Extraversion people are people who can easily communicate with various people, communicating with others is energy generator for them. Introversion people are people who prefer to think deeply and prefer to have their own space. It is not that the Introversion people can’t communicate or generally display more “introvert” characteristics. It is just that they need to make the extra effort to communicate and then need some time alone to recuperate. Extroversion people typically have more breadth (multiple interests but not deeply into any) while Introversion people are people with more depth (fewer interest but with more focus). Introversion people act as extroversion people when they are with their close friends or if the topic of discussion is about their interest.

The S-N Dichotomy
The Sensing-Intuitive dichotomy is about how you communicate. The Sensing people tend to first identify the elements and then build a picture around those elements. The Intuitive people tend to create a big picture. Sensing people will first spot the small mistakes in documents/reports, while the Intuitive people will focus on what the document/report. The Intuitive people are more imaginative and verbally creative.

The T-F Dichotomy
The Thinking-Feeling dichotomy is about decision making style. Thinking people will collect data. They will create systems, processes and rules. They want to be fair using the data and rules around these. Thinking people want to be objective and fair. They are analytical and want to identify what’s wrong with something so they can solve the problem. They may appear to be tough minded. The Feeling people are more focused on being fair to the situation and the people involved. They use personal value to make decisions. They assess the impact of decisions on people and strive for harmony and positive interactions. They may appear soft hearted.

The J-P Dichotomy
The Judging-Perceiving dichotomy is about orientation to external world. The Judging people are more structure, organized and like to live in a planned and orderly way. Perceiving people tend to be more flexible and spontaneous in their ways. They prefer to stay open to last minute options and can adapt to change.

By the questionnaire, I am ENTJ personality type. However by explanations above, I am closer to ISFP or even ISFJ at times. The facilitator also suggested that you could take three inputs – the test, your own feel and what others might perceive you as to identify your personality type and traits you demonstrate.



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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are my personal opinions. Content published here is not read or approved in advance by my employers and does not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of my employers.

Creative Commons License This work by Manish Mohan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.5 India License.