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Masanori Hashimoto CEO at Nulab

Collaborate with remote team members in real time with Cacoo

Ditsa Keren

Cacoo is an online diagramming tool for creating sitemaps, flowcharts, mind maps, wireframes, mockups, UML models, and more collaboratively and remotely. In this interview, CEO Masanori Hashimoto describes the benefits of online team collaboration and how it can contribute to the growing global community of remote development teams.

Please Describe The Story Behind Cacoo: What Sparked The Idea, And How Has It Evolved So Far?

We started Nulab in 2004 as a means to create custom solutions for Japanese companies. We built a concept of agile development and created a project management software called Backlog. At the beginning that was our work only, however, we have gradually added more and more services to address the needs of our clients and help them scale.

Currently, in 2019, we provide corporate services to over 3 Million users in the global market. We’ve launched new office locations in Singapore, New York, and Amsterdam, and are currently employing over 100 people in Japan and worldwide.

In a nutshell, Cacoo is a browser-based diagramming tool that can be used by teams to work collaboratively on anything, from presentations and flow charts to prototyping, and design.

Our unique point is that we allow team members to collaborate remotely in real-time. For example, if you had 3 designers, each working on a different part of a website, the header, body, and footer, they would all be looking at the same page and seeing what everyone is doing in real-time, so they would virtually be working together. In the end, they don’t need to send any files or versions to each other the old way. Instead, they can simply share their project URL and instantly collaborate with people on their team, no matter where they are in the world.

What Are Some Typical Use Cases For Cacoo?

As a collaborative piece of software, Cacoo is very flexible and is used in many industries besides IT. It’s popular in education, particularly in high schools, who use it to assign tasks to students. Students like it for flowcharts and planning projects. Engineers and programmers will use it to get designs from designers. I personally use it for our monthly sales reports.

As a visual software, Cacoo is not limited to people with technical knowledge, so anyone can jump right into it. It’s such a powerful piece of software that it can be used by anyone in many different ways. The possibilities are endless, so it all depends on what you want to get out of it.

How Does Cacoo Handle Sensitive Business Information When Shared Between Users In And Outside Of The Organization?

Nulab uses all the latest security technologies. We have constantly updated status pages and blog posts about what we’re doing. We use AWS and all the good stuff coming with it.

If you’re worried about sending documents to the wrong people or if you’re dealing with sensitive data, there are a few things to be done about it. Firstly, we have a two-factor-authentication process that can be applied to all users within the organization.

Next, we offer an organizational structure where you can hide certain projects and only share them with designated team members who can see those diagrams or files. Grouping things that way takes care of the problem and allows top-level executives to control who can access projects or files that contain sensitive data and what they can do with it.

What Do You Do To Stay Up To Date And Keep Your Technological Edge?

Right now we are very much interested in Artificial Intelligence. We are focusing on micro samples from AWS using Kubernetes. We have some people at Nulab who are deeply interested in Kubernetes and they are doing study meetups and after-work workshops. They are giving presentations about our implementation in community meetups and they are sharing their passion for interesting ways of using AI.

How Are Your Future Plans For Cacoo?

Right now, as a collaborative software, our latest implementations have been focused on helping remote workers feel like they are more directly connected. For example, this year we implemented some real-time features so, you can actually see everyone’s mouse, and that really helps team members to feel more connected even if they are miles away from one another. By using these kinds of features, we generate a lot of data that you can run analytics on and gather statistics. In the future, using that information with AI, we’re hoping to have a tool that works more with the users and helps to bridge that connection gap even more.

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