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How They Use Cloud Software – Waypoint founder Dan Fairbairn

Well it’s almost the end of March, and after reading the previous interviews we thought we’d give it a go ourselves  to wrap up our ‘How They Work’ series. Once again, we extend a huge thankyou to Mark from Xero, Clinton from Tradiepad and Brad from simPRO for their insights. Without any more fanfare, here’s our own interview with our Director Dan Fairbairn.

Who are you and what do you do?

I’m Dan Fairbairn and I run and manage Waypoint. We are set up in Melbourne to help small businesses implement software and systems in their business, with the aim to improve productivity and manage their workflows. My everyday role involves project management, sales and all round admin work!

What software do you use to manage your emails, contacts and calendar?

We use Google Apps for business, and have done since day one. The ease of setup was the first attraction. As a start-up, we wanted something that was easy and inexpensive to implement, with the capability to grow with the business without the necessity for a complex migration. In the initial stages we tested Office 365, which is a very strong product, but as it was complex to administer, it fell down in the setup and advanced areas.

Do you run a CRM, and if so, what is this?

We run one specific software for CRM and project management called AffinityLive. This links to both Google Apps for contacts and communication, as well as Xero for our accounting, and also handles email broadcasts, support and quoting. Previously we have tested a number of CRM specific solutions such as Capsule and Highrise, but prefer the all-in-one nature of AffinityLive.

What’s your best software advice for running your job role day-to-day (tasks, to-do’s, follow ups etc)?

Google Apps really helps as mentioned before, but we also use a number of tools to manage the smaller items in our day to day work. Pocket is a GREAT tool for saving things on the move, such as articles to read, and websites to review. We use this to save clippings throughout the week, and then review when more time is available. If you load it on your mobile you can also get it to read articles to you, which is fantastic for the 80 hours a week you spend in traffic if you live and work around Melbourne! With bluetooth in the car, I can’t recommend using your time whilst driving enough to get things done. Although of course you need to focus on the road, it’s a great time to listen to articles, return phone calls and follow up customers and team members.

What’s the biggest advantage of cloud software for you in your role?

Flexibility and access from anywhere, plus scalability. We have used the same software from the inception of the company until today, and it has grown with us. The nature of the work we perform means that we are regularly working from unusual areas, or on client sites, and only ever in the office for a day or two a week. Although I’m not a fan of the ever-inclusive nature of modern technology, the ability to work when and where you want to can be particularly advantageous. I’ve done my invoicing and administration in several countries around the world, and all kinds of weird and wonderful places.

What one piece of advice would you offer someone who’s never used cloud software?

Get involved! In fact, you probably already are. If you have a Twitter or Facebook account, or have ever used Gmail or Hotmail, you’ve used cloud software and might not know it. On a more serious note, it’s easier than ever to integrate cloud software within your business. It doesn’t need to cost tens of thousands and take months to implement. Something as simple as moving your email to Google Apps can take less than a week, cost less than $1,000, and save you ten times the amount in time and server costs.

What other productivity tips do you have (software or otherwise)?

GTD!! If you don’t know what that is, then it’s certainly worth researching.  GTD is a great methodology that takes a while to get used to, but is highly effective for managing your time and to-do’s. I can’t recommend it enough, and am happy to talk to anyone and everyone about it in more detail offline!

Thankyou for your insights, Dan! To find out more about the opportunities that cloud implementation can offer your business, contact the team at Waypoint today.