On August 30, 2012, at the presentation in the press center of RIA News information agency, Dmitriy Torshin, General Director of “Unicloud Labs”, made a presentation of a new product – Unicloud Business 365, available at http://business365.ru.
This new cloud system allows to efficiently automate the main processes of small and mid-sized business and, unlike many others, to arrange cooperation between companies directly within the framework of the system. The companies can work on joint projects, tasks, discussions, exchange files and even sign contracts, certificates, and invoices with the use of electronic signatures.
“The idea of this product originated as a result of communication with the web studios which implement new projects for different customers and constantly have to not only enter contractors in the CRM system, but also to work with them – discuss requirements, sign design specifications, and issue invoices. We’ve understood that the product which would automate all the above-mentioned aspects of work with the customers, contractors, and suppliers, can significantly improve the process of collaboration between companies.”
General Director of Unicloud Labs LLC
For more than a year the team of developers was engaged in the development of this service, and the last half of the year the development management was performed directly in the prototype of own system. It allowed the participants of the project to understand how to improve its interface, make the user work as simple as possible and prevent potential user errors in the course of work.
“Skolkovo aims to support development of the most interesting and prospective projects. We consider the “Unicloud Labs” team to be one of them, as we've been working with them for more than a year and can make special mention of high professionalism of its participants. Unicloud Business 365 is one of the most interesting cloud solutions.”
Director for IT Cluster projects of the Skolkovo Foundation
Special attention was paid to the user interface simplicity, intelligibility, and efficiency.
Firstly, there is a common interface for PC, notebook or a tablet, and the system itself operates from any up-to-date browser without the necessity of installation on local computers.
Secondly, all the forms used by the user are made as simple as possible, and often they have only one mandatory field. For example, to enter a customer it is enough to write only their name. The accounting does not become worse – as soon as the user makes actions requiring additional information, the system politely asks for it – just at the time when such information is required. The system forgives the user the “humanity” expressed in their unsystematic character, but does not allow to make major mistakes. Users are satisfied with such a caring system.
Thirdly, the up-to-date concept of layers is used in the system which allows to see the whole picture, get deep into details, and then immediately return to the initial point. For example, you can customize filters in the project list, go to a specific project, see the task specified in it and then with one click return to the customized project list. It incredibly enhances the efficiency of work of an employee and makes the work with the system pleasant and convenient.
Fourthly, in any place of the system there is a single command line where you can enter text, for example “Present a report Peter the day after tomorrow”, press “Create a task” and get a task with the text “Present a report” assigned to Peter to be done until the day after tomorrow.
Fifthly, every employee of the user company can choose one of three versions of the interface: for the sale service (the main modules are contacts and deals), for specialists (the main modules are tasks, projects, discussions), and for managers – all modules of the system. The users themselves determine the set of services they work with, and they can change the interface at any time.
Finally, a single line of events allows to see the news which happened in the system and were related to the tasks, projects, and documents accessed by you, automatically marking these events as "read". And really important events (for example when a user is required to accept a report on the task or sign a document) do not disappear from the line until the user performs one of the suggested actions.
The system has many functions and mechanisms, but does not force the user to reject those to which the user is accustomed. For example, a user can continue to work with an external calendar, and Unicloud Business 365 allows to customize export of the list of tasks to the user's calendar.
Closed testing with the participation of more than 200 users has confirmed that the capabilities of the system are asked-for and at the same time sufficient for more than 90% of them. Even inexperienced users quickly adapted to the new interface and understood how to work with it. No doubt that it will positively impact the speed of implementation of this system into business processes of the companies.
As a whole, the system provides the user with services in creation and monitoring of the company's events in a single newsline; assignment of tasks and tracing of their fulfillment; consolidation of tasks, discussions and documents into projects; communication between the participants; the contact database of people and companies, planning and assessment of transactions; and, which is the most interesting, provision of the legally significant electronic document flow between the companies directly in the course of their work with each other.
The Unicloud Labs solution allows to conveniently and simply customize the whole process of interaction between the partners, customers and contractors, suppliers and buyers, as well as to work with them directly in the system – from discussion of tasks to signing of documents with the use of electronic signatures.
Legally significant electronic document flow
In 2012, Russia got a long-expected possibility for business – to exchange electronic invoices equally with other documents without duplication on paper. For this purpose, the companies need to be connected to an authorized operator of electronic document flow accredited by the Federal Tax Service of Russia and have an information system for creation, signing, submission, receipt, and view of documents. The market already has several solutions of the operators which allow to perform only this process. Unicloud Business 365 moves on and integrates the legally significant document flow directly into the process of the companies' work making it an integral part of a joint project. However, users which do not need other modules of the system can use only the electronic document flow module.
Legal significance of the document flow in Unicloud Business 365 is ensured by one of the major authorized operators of electronic document flow – JSC "Kaluga Astral" (www.astralnalog.ru). The company services more than 500,000 active electronic signature keys and has representative offices in all 83 constituents of the Russian Federation.
"We started to cooperate with the Unicloud team in the Fall of 2011 and have constantly consulted the developers on how to make the electronic document flow legally significant, correct and convenient. It seems to me that Unicloud Business 365 has become the most convenient, simple and functional system supporting the legally significant document flow on the market. I'm sure that its future will be great."
General Director of JSC "Kaluga Astral"
Announcement of partnership with MTT
Simultaneously with the launch of the Unicloud Business 365 system, there was an announcement of possibility to use VoIP telephony of OJSC "MTT" YouMagic, which will be embedded into Unicloud Business 365 and will be available to users already in the Fall of 2012.
The users will be able to call each other for free both within one company and between the companies in the system Unicloud Business 365, as well as make and accept calls on mobile and landline phones at favorable rates.
About Unicloud Labs
Unicloud Labs included in I.T. Group was established in 2011. The team includes sales and project management specialists from different international and Russian companies. External specialists – scientists from Russia and Germany – also participate in the project. Currently there are more than 30 people in the team, and the main body of it consists of 20 employees.
In September 2011, the company obtained the status of a resident of the IT Cluster of the Skolkovo Investment Foundation, and in January 2012 it obtained a grant from the Skolkovo Foundation in the amount of more than 24 mln rubles.
In January 2012, Aleksandr Turkot, Executive Director of the IT Cluster of the Skolkovo Foundation, assessed the work of Unicloud Labs as follows:
"Appearance and distribution of Unicloud Business 365 will be asked for by many entrepreneurs and it will likely make several local "revolutions". As popular the use of e-mail is today, so equally easy it will be to customize the whole process of interaction between the partners, customers and contractors, suppliers and buyers."