Tools for joining up a distributed workforce

“What tools do you find most useful for joining up a distributed workforce…?”

…asked a friend, and I thought it would be better to share my thoughts here than stick it in an e-mail.

Portable computing

      • No desktops: laptops with docking stations
      • Hyper portable laptop: solid state disks and light means you can take it anywhere
      • Full disk encryption
      • Polarizing screen filter: so you can work on the train or in a café without having to worry too much about people peering over you shoulders
      • OpenVPN and Tunnelblick: access infrastructure securely
      • 1Password: generate strong passwords and share them across devices
      • Portable noise cancelling headset with mike: absolutely essential
      • Smartphone: so, toss the Blackberry

Smartphone apps

      • Train Times – next train home
      • Google Authenticatior – two factor authentication to our Google Apps for Business
      • MobileAgent – to allow remote access to FreeAgent – to upload expenses, receipts
      • Skype – because it’s the VOIP solution we currently use
      • Hailo – hailing a cab in London
      • BarclaysBikes – to find docking stations with bikes nearby and suggested journeys
      • The Trainline – to pay for train tickets in advance
      • RingGo – pay for station car parking
      • EchoSign – sign contracts etc. electronically on the go
      • Zinio – so you can read Harvard Business Review on the Go
      • CardMunch – from LinkedIn – so you don’t have to keep business cards

SAAS Web Apps

      • MediaWiki – the place where everything starts…
      • Echosign – no more sending signed paper
      • WordPress – our internal blogging platform and our external CMS and blogging platform
      • Google Apps for business – for e-mail and calendars, mostly
      • CapsuleCRM – Manage contacts, customers, sales pipeline etc. integrates with GoogleApps (we didn’t choose SalesForce because it was too big)
      • FreeAgent – almost everything financial, payroll has been creaking a bit recently with bigger workforce. Didn’t use Sage as the online offering was poor
      • Target Process – agile software management tool online. We looked at loads and this one fit the bill best
      • Jira – for managing issues, features, releases etc.
      • – the nearest thing we have to a remote whiteboard

Legacy platforms
Platforms we still use but have plans in place to move off…

    • Box – encrypted, cloud simple document management system.
    • Yammer – a proprietary SAAS microblogging platform
    • Skype: already partly moved to Google hangouts. Plan to move to Asterisk VOIP infrastructure and some Video conferencing. Already using XMPP for chat and presence.