We frequently get questions about whether Appraise-It Classic can be used in a cloud-based capacity or if Appraise-It Pro will be a cloud-based program.
Manually Uploading Copies
Some users are using Appraise-It Classic in a limited cloud-based fashion by putting copies of their reports in a cloud-based storage service such as Microsoft’s OneDrive, DropBox or Google Drive (which is being replaced by Google Drive File Stream). The reports are saved locally in their \\TRADATA\DATA folder, and then they manually put copies of the report in a cloud-based drive as needed, as a viable alternative to emailing copies of their reports coworkers or accessing them elsewhere.
Synchronization for Single User
Alternatively, some users may take this cloud-based storage to another level by placing their TRADATA folder in the cloud-based storage and then access this folder directly. This option seems to work reasonably well for a single user who wants to access the folder from various locations, such at home or at work. However, this option requires internet access to use Appraise-It. This problem can be circumvented by placing TRADATA in OneDrive on your local PC and then having OneDrive folder synchronize with the cloud-based storage. Consult OneDrive support for directions.
Even so, this option would be subject to the typical synchronization problems associated with the cloud-based storage. For example, even if you save a report on your PC and even if it is successfully uploaded to the cloud, you could open it from another PC before the synchronization has completed and lose the latest work you did in that report from the other PC. So use this option at your own risk. This risk is inherent in cloud-based synchronization. Also, the constant synchronization of the Comp Manager database makes placing the entire TRADATA folder in the cloud very problematic.
Synchronization for Multiple Users
Some users have tried a much riskier option by simply placing the TRADATA folder in the cloud-based location and then access this folder directly by multiple users. The synchronization problems are compounded by the possibility of multiple users trying to access the same report at the same time. Thus, this option is strongly discouraged.
Google Backup and Sync
Alternatively, even multiple user environments might try Google’s Backup and Sync. See https://www.google.com/drive/download. Rather than syncing TRADATA, they can set it to sync their DATA subfolder. Only one computer on the network needs to be set to sync DATA, preferably the server. Remote users can sync DATA on their individual PCs.
Due to synchronization issues, some customers have inquired if Appraise-It Pro might be a truly cloud or web-based program. The answer is no, not at this time. One obvious problem with cloud-based programs is that you would only be able to use the program while you are connected to the internet. If the internet is down, you are down. Secondly, making the program truly web-based would break integration with secondary applications such as Apex. Therefore, for now, keeping Appraise-It Pro as a desktop application is preferable. As cloud-based computing matures and synchronization problems become less of an issue, perhaps further steps toward cloud and web-based computing can be taken.
That said, users can sync their DATA folder via Google’s Backup and Sync. Using Backup and Sync. will allow them to work even while the internet is down. Yet they can seamlessly share their reports across the internet with co-workers when the internet is up and running. All the while, they can use secondary applications such as Apex with this method. Plus, since Appraise-It’s Comp Manager database manages the synchronization of reports within the \\Tradata\Data, the synchronization of this database is being accomplished indirectly, thus avoiding the need to suck up your bandwidth by trying to synchronize this large database directly across the internet. In other words, you can have the best of both worlds: the power and convenience of local computing with cloud-based sharing.
Granted, this method will not synchronize the common responses and file index. But Appraise-It Pro will uses the Comp Manager database for its file index, so this is not an issue for the Pro edition. As to common responses, Appraise-It already provides the option of private common responses. Those appraisers using Appraise-It remotely can use this option.