Let's face it, if we are going to be using new technology in the future, then we are all going to have to continue to keep up with rapid change. Agility and adaptability are going to be the keys to survival: and the pace of change dictates that most companies will need to avoid being held back by IT investment commitments. And as virtual companies and freelancers are increasingly becoming the workforce norm for most operations, cloud-based systems will also become the norm, allowing people to work wherever they need to be and making companies less dependent on particular IT architectures. For some organisations, such as transport, information and health care, huge centralised databases of records will soon become a thing of the past.

If you are using Excel 2010, then it's a good time to find out how to share a workbook in the cloud; all you need is Windows Live SkyDrive (the "cloud"), and Excel Web App (a browser-based, light-weight version of Excel). And even if colleagues don't have Excel installed on their computer, they can still work with you in the cloud. For example, you can upload a workbook on windows Lie SkyDrive where Excel web app is available. Simply log in to windows live SkyDrive and create a shared workbooks folder. Now you can upload to the workbook. Once the workbook is available in the Cloud, anyone who has access can simply select the Excel workbook and in Excel Webb App displays the worksheet data in view mode

And you can also edit a spreadsheet in the browser. When you edit in the browser, you can change data, enter or edit formulas, and apply basic formatting within the spreadsheet. To do this, with the workbook open in Excel Web App click Edit in Browser. Now you can update the data, add formulas, insert charts, or apply formatting.

Excel Web App saves your changes automatically. If you want to make changes beyond what you can do in the browser, click Open in Excel on the Home tab. In Excel, when you save the workbook, it is saved back on SkyDrive.

If you need to work with colleagues on the same data, then that's easy, too. You can then carry on and edit the workbook without worrying about others using the file at the same time. Anyone can enter data, editor or format cells, and calculate data using simple formulas and functions including the SUM function. This means that you can make decisions based on live data; for example by tracking information in an Excel workbook on your SkyDrive, you can open the workbook in your browser any time. Simply go to where the workbook is stored on your SkyDrive, by following a link or by signing in at http://office.live.com. Click the workbook, and Excel Web App will open the workbook. Now use the ribbon interface to view and interact with the data. Sort and filter rows or columns, expand PivotTables, and refresh the data.

In Excel Web App you can collaborate with other people on the same workbook at the same time. Excel Web App indicates if other people are also working in the workbook, and allows multiple users to make changes at the same time. Even commonly used functions including copying and pasting, working with tables and inserting and deleting cells and columns are seamless in the cloud. The changes are immediate reflected in the worksheet, so if two or more people are working on data at the same time changes reflect the last entry made. This is ideal of you need your sales team to input their figures for an up-to-date reflection on live sales, for example, and you don't need to worry about the order of who inputs when.

In the future, it's likely that many projects will require virtual companies made up of teams of staff from different organisations, in different geographic areas. In some industries expertise is spread globally, in others it is concentrated in science parks. But in all cases, technology is changing so fast that no particular structure will survive for very long. Virtual companies will be more and more common, and they will often need to restructure dynamically and rapidly. So it's good to know that Microsoft Excel 2010 has the capabilities to keep your worksheet data up to date and secure.