Fileless is the new paperless

September 8th, 2014   /     /   Smarter Identity

One benefit of starting your own company is that you get to do certain things your way. If you’re under 30 and thinking about starting a new company today, your first inclination is probably not to go out and purchase Microsoft Office and a server where you can install Exchange and Active Directory.

More likely, you will sign up for Google Apps and start sending emails, writing documents and building spreadsheet models – all from within your browser. And every time you have to leave your browser, you’re stricken by sudden anxiety; your heart rate increases, drops of sweat appear on your forehead and your hands start shaking.

When my brother and I started OneLogin a few years ago, we didn’t have to think hard about choosing Google Docs. It just seemed natural since we were both on Macs and worked thousands of miles apart, which made us focus on how we could collaborate most efficiently.

Since then, we have hired a lot of people and some of them come from companies where business is still done in Microsoft Office. Old habits die hard, so we have had to enforce a strict no-file/no-print policy. No, don’t send me that model in Excel, Google Sheets can do pivot tables just fine. And why did you print me a copy of your press release, Google Docs has excellent, threaded commenting. Don’t email that PowerPoint presentation our partner just sent you. Share it via Google Drive instead. You get the idea.

I haven’t printed anything in five years, but I realize that not only are we paperless at OneLogin, we are fileless. The significance of this sometimes takes long-time Office users several months to understand. In the beginning they commit several cloud faux pas, such as printing or emailing attachments. But after a while they start seeing the benefits of one online instance of each document. Changes are available to everyone instantly. You can even see others making the changes on your own screen. No more endless download-edit-attach-send games and merging of changing from the countless editions that are now floating around.

One thing is that you save tons of storage because the same document no longer exists in numerous different versions on everyone’s computers and smartphones, file servers and backups. The real kicker is the speed at which it allows your organization to move. And that’s really what the cloud is about: business agility and performance.

About the Author

Thomas Pedersen, founder and CEO of Onelogin, has more than 15 years of experience in building and selling carrier-grade billing systems for phone companies, initially at Cisco-backed Digiquant in Denmark and later at Intec Telecom Systems in the US. After having helped Zendesk grow to 5,000 customers as VP Business Development, he is now laser-focused on making OneLogin the most widely deployed identity management solution in the cloud.

View all posts by Thomas Pedersen