Invest in Yourself—The New Cloud Tools

by Neil Malek


Speaking on technology at conferences, one of the biggest problems you face is the different levels of technology everyone in the audience has available. I’ve lost track of the number of people who complain that their business “just won’t give them Office 365,” or “doesn’t support new technologies.” The prospect of someday upgrading or moving to a new job that requires knowledge of the new cloud technologies, is daunting because they’re unprepared.

The reality, though, is that to fully prepare yourself for any modern technology shifts—at your current job or your next one—is easier and cheaper than you think.

Preparing for Office 365 Cloud Tools

Let’s say you’re stuck with Office 2010 at your desk at work. I’ve got some good news for you—there haven’t been a huge number of changes in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint between 2010 and 2016 (or 2019). There are some new transition styles and some tweaks to Pivot Tables, but for the most part—Office is Office.

What you’re missing out on is OneDrive, SharePoint, Teams, Planner, Flow, Sway, and other online tools that are fundamentally changing the way we collaborate. You need experience with these tools.

The cost of a full subscription to these online services as well as the Office Online suite (not the desktop installations)? Five dollars a month.

For $60 per year, you can find out how to collaborate with people on the newest technology available.

In fact, if you were to “go in” with some members of your IAAP Branch, you could add a $10 custom domain name, and have email addresses and a collaboration environment for sharing and working with your fellow members. For my business, I run three separate Office 365 “companies” for training purposes, so different users can email each other back-and-forth.

Compare the cost of that site ($60!) to the last conference you attended, or the last online course you paid for.

Preparing for G Suite for Business

To the end user—there is no difference between the Google Suite you get for free, and the one you use for a business! If you want, you can upgrade to the $5 per month or $12 per month levels, but for all intents and purposes, you can prepare for your company’s shift to G Suite by getting a free Gmail account.

Preparing for Slack, Trello, Asana, and Others

Slack, Trello, and Asana all have free accounts available—you only pay for improved functionality. It costs you nothing to prepare yourself for this technology and have it on your resume for your next job interview.


Don’t wait for your business to do it for you—you can run your own test environment in any one of these software packages for little or nothing. If you convince a few people at your IAAP Branch to work with you, you can get real, practical, hands-on experience collaborating with other people that will be invaluable for the next 20 years.

Neil Malek is just one of the presenters at IAAP CAPstone 2019 for the Technology Applications specialty (TA). CAPstone 2019 is exclusively for those taking the CAP exam in 2019 or those who hold an active CAP and wish to earn a focused specialty certificate.

Join your peers March 18-20, 2019, at the InterContinental San Diego in San Diego, California, for this incredible opportunity. Class size is limited to ensure personalized learning, so register today!


The Certified Administrative Professional (CAP) credential is a prestigious honor thousands have earned over the last 15 years. Adding the CAP after your name proves to the world not only that you have the knowledge to be great at your job, but also that you are committed to your profession, success, and lifelong learning.

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