How To Run Your Life Better:
Three Simple Cloud Computing Tools

Today’s guest blog post is written by Daniel Pesick, Product Manager, Patron Technology.

I’ve been an avid runner for a few years now, and every time I go for a run, I use an app called Runkeeper to log the activity. Runkeeper uses GPS to track where I’ve gone and how fast I’m running. With barely any effort, the run is uploaded directly to Runkeeper’s cloud storage database from which I can access on any device with an internet connection. This is a crucial tool for me because it allows me to track my progress from any device easily and follow my improvement as my mileage increases (something I appreciated greatly this fall while training for my first marathon). Plus, my friends who also use Runkeeper can offer support and advice through the app’s social sharing capabilities.

Runkeeper is great if you’re a runner, but it’s probably not particularly useful for an arts administrator or PatronManager user (or at least not helpful for your job)! However, there are many cloud-based apps that I think could similarly increase your productivity and effectiveness with very little implementation effort.

  1. Use Dropbox or Google Drive for shared docs
    • Are you still emailing documents back and forth for editing? It’s impossible to keep up-to-date with the latest edits when each person must download the doc and make edits offline. Tools like Dropbox and Google Drive utilize the power of the cloud to simplify file editing and make the process more collaborative. Dropbox, a file-sharing tool, allows you to upload documents and spreadsheets and edit them from anywhere. It even includes a Microsoft Office integration that allows you to collaborate on documents with your colleagues over the cloud while still maintaining the comfortable and familiar feeling of working on a desktop. (Dropbox is also great because it’s one of several services you can use to backup data to the cloud automatically. We’ve all heard horror stories about a company’s self-maintained server crashing, resulting in months or years of lost work. Don’t let that happen to you!)
  2. Create shared photo albums
    • Every smartphone – iPhone or Android – comes equipped with a free photo sharing tool. Try creating shared albums in your iPhone’s Photos app or Android devices Google Photos app and fill those albums with rehearsal and event photos. You can take photos from anywhere and upload them directly with your board members and leadership team through your cloud-shared albums. It’s quick, easy, free, and will help foster engagement with your board.
  3. Scan barcodes
    • A little plug here for a PatronManager feature that, as a member of the product team here, has been my baby for the past few years: barcode scanning. Using a mobile device, scan tickets as patrons enter your theater. The data is uploaded immediately to the cloud and doesn’t require any additional networking or hosting equipment. You’ll know right away when an MVP donor or board member enters the building. Further, you can send follow up emails to anyone in attendance without any extra work to log their attendance.

You’re probably already on board with the concept of the cloud, but I mention these apps, in addition to my experience with Runkeeper, because I think they highlight something important about the cloud that’s often missed: cloud computing doesn’t have to be complicated! Sure, moving your company’s operations to the cloud is a big undertaking, but there are many cloud-based tools that just feel like an extension of your desktop experience. With these quick, easy, and automatic tools, you can boost your productivity and effectiveness almost immediately.

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