Cloud Technology: The Tools Agencies Are Using...To Get More Done

Sure, you could drive a nail into a plank by using a rock, or with a sufficiently heavy screwdriver. But using a hammer or a nailgun, tools that are specifically engineered for the task, is more efficient and less painful. Agree?

The traditional problem with tools made specifically for tasks in the production studio is that they have been expensive. When a license costs upwards of a thousand dollars, studios, particularly those in smaller boutique agencies, are understandably reluctant to invest in them.

But the Cloud changes that. This means smaller teams which previously might have never dreamed of using dedicated project and schedule management tools, for example, can now get access to their features.

Already, forward-thinking production and studio managers are reaping real productivity improvements by using a new generation of Cloud-based tools, it can be surprising how much functionality now exists on the Cloud. Here are some examples.

Keep your projects on track

 Cloud-based project management and collaboration tools give team members a quick and easy way to keep track of their progress and update their tasks as they go.

Most tools allow detailed notes and files to be attached to tasks, making it easy to keep organized. Others, like Central Desktop, integrate everything, from calendars to internal forums to file management.

Many of these solutions are fairly simple to use, with intuitive interfaces. For example, Trello, a free task management tool, allow users to drag and drop tasks and files.

Managers, on their part, can use these tools to get instant updates about the status of projects. They can get as much or as little information as they want, whether it’s an overview of the general progress of the project, or a detailed drill-down into the individual tasks being completed by each member of their team. Perfect

Get your files to the right people

Need to get images, videos, vectors or documents from point A (your studio) to point B (where it needs to be)?

You've tried email? Good luck with those attachments and file size restrictions there. It can also quick become unmanageable when large volumes are involved.

FTP? Still usable, but just a bit clunky, and can be hard to organize.

Online galleries such as Flickr and Smugmug are well suited for photographs and videos, but are primary optimized around the online viewing experience, not file transfers.

Cloud-based general file storage solutions like Dropbox and Google Drive are standard options. They allow you to quickly share files with clients, and work well with a variety of file types.

If you need even more advanced features and control, tools like SmartImage are the next step-up.

Uploaded files can be tagged and classified by type. You can delegate access to selected collections to specific users via passwords, and track downloads, embeds and shares of your collections and files.

SmartImage also includes automatic resizing options – upload the highest resolution file, and the system converts the content to popular formats. It can also optimize the images for device-specific displays, including the Retina displays from Apple.

Deliver ads to publishers and broadcasters

Even though most ads today are sent through the Internet, the process is more complicated than simply uploading the file somewhere and sharing the link.

Studios have to ensure their files meet the strict publication/broadcast requirements, and navigate their way around the delivery systems used by the publishers and broadcasters.

Cloud-based solutions can deliver the finished ads directly to the correct publication and broadcaster, without the fuss or prohibitive costs associated with earlier types of ad delivery systems. Once the ads are uploaded, these tools ensure your files are ready for prime time by running preflight checks against the publisher and broadcast specifications.

This is done directly on the Cloud, and the system informs you or your studio operator if there are problems found, and the options available to fix the files.

Other options?

Cloud-technology doesn't stop there, and the list could go on, too many to cover in one post, to be honest! And of course, some solutions are more suited to be hosted in the Cloud than others.

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Brianna StreetBlog