San Digital has been designed as a remote first business from inception, on the assumption that it's easier to add offices later if they are necessary in an agile way. To work in collaborative way completely remotely takes a carefully thought out set of tools. Some of the ones that we use are really standard and some are a little more interesting.
This list doesn’t deal with the tools that we use for development just the ones that we use to run the business and coordinate our efforts.
There are really only two choices here, Microsoft or Google, at the moment Microsoft do seem to have the edge.
One feature of an O365 subscription that people do seem to miss is that it comes with an Azure tenancy and Cloud Active Directory, this is actually a massive bonus as any corporate applications that are deployed into Azure can have Authentication linked to AD from the start with zero effort.
We haven’t gone down the Teams route yet, as a product it’s not quite as good as individual specialists.
For chat at the moment slack is hard to beat, there’s lots of competition but no one else as nailed it completely yet. This is probably the component of the stack that we keep the closest eye on, Teams is promising but even with its O365 integrations isn’t there yet.
It works and at the moment it’s ubiquitous, whether that will continue remains to be seem. Video is well on the road to being a commodity and will most likely end up folded into other products in the same way that telephony has been. Again, there is a prime opportunity for Teams here, but they aren’t quite there yet.
Imagine the love child of Access and Trello and you get something like Notion, one of our standout discoveries, really good for getting small teams organised with boards and databases. However, the potential for chaos is quite high especially as things start to scale more.
In a similar way to Trello, Notion is brilliant for prototyping ways of working that then get spun out into something more capable. It’s likely that the first targets for this will be around sales as the volume is highest at the front of the funnel and responds well to automation. Long term we will likely adopt Dynamics to manage large number of projects as it integrates really nicely with Xero.
Remote and paperless doesn’t have to stop with the front office it should absolutely be the case in the back office too. At San we run the back office with as few people as possible to keep the company lean and remove margin for error. Xero lets us work with accountants and HMRC really easily, it also integrates really nicely with the bank.
In terms of challenging preconceived ideas Starling has been out the standout component of our SaaS stack. From account setup through to day-to-day use starling are leaders in business banking. Probably one of the best onboarding processes we have seen in any app let alone something as complex as banking, integrates nicely with Xero as well. We set up a business account from three locations around the country in the middle of a pandemic in an hour, never thought we'd say that.