Cloud computing is becoming commonplace in offices as companies look to boost the productivity of employees, enhance their accessibility, and create a mobile-friendly environment. Whether you’ve yet to realize it or not, cloud-based tools are everywhere you turn in today’s modern office environment.
Does your team collaborate and share documents or campaign materials through Google Drive? Are you constantly sending messages through Slack to keep your colleagues up to date and in the know? Do you rely on your carefully-curated Spotify playlist to keep you motivated throughout the day?
These are just a few examples of how the cloud is making a major impact on today’s businesses. Although many people tend to think of the cloud solely as a technology resource for document storing and sharing, in reality, it’s much more. Cloud computing is the core technology fueling many of the most popular workplace tools and resources, changing the way today’s professionals approach their day-to-day work and responsibilities. In fact, RightScale’s 2019 State of the Cloud report indicates that 94% of today’s businesses have already adopted some aspect of the cloud into their daily operations.
Here are five ways the cloud is impacting today’s modern workplace:
1. It promotes team collaboration
Today’s businesses have the cloud to thank for many of their workflow efficiencies, which have been shaped by the number of collaborative tools established by cloud technologies. As research vice president at Gartner Craig Roth points out, a “new way of working” has emerged in which deliverables are generated at the same time by an entire team, rather than each team member taking a turn and then passing it along to the next person. Now more than ever, today’s workforce requires collaborative tools that enable them to work simultaneously and efficiently on in-house documents.
Enter cloud-based collaboration tools. Because the cloud operates through the internet, it allows users to access data anywhere they have an internet connection. Rather than becoming bogged down by pesky revisions, back-and-forth communication, or heavily marked hardcopies, cloud-based document sharing tools make creating new materials more efficient and less arduous than ever before. Using cloud-based applications such as Google Drive, Dropbox, or a host of others has made it easier for professionals to collaborate on important documents, whether they’re working remotely, in the office, or on the go. At the same time, resources such as CloudApp bring a free screen recorder, screenshots, and GIF creator to the cloud, in an easy-to-use enterprise-level app, which can accelerate and improve workflow.
In turn, collaboration processes have become much more efficient. Rather than sending files back and forth over email or exchanging information through lengthy phone calls, team members can collaboratively update shared files in real time. This reduces the time it takes to interface on new campaign materials, in-house presentations, or client-facing deliverables and allows teams to efficiently accomplish daily tasks.
2. It fosters better communication
This ability to constantly connect and communicate, whether it be by text, video, or email, has become so routine that members of today’s workforce now prefer a similar level of interaction at their workplace. To fulfill this need, many organizations have adopted one of the many instant message-style communication platforms available today.
Slack, for example, is a cloud-based communication tool for teams and companies. Slack channels act similarly to group messages and can be organized by individual, team, project, topic, etc. to ensure that everyone is on the same page when it comes to communication. The cloud company even features video chatting and PDF file sharing, and integrates with other cloud-based tools such as Dropbox or Google Sheets.
For many employees, these types of tools facilitate communications they might not have pursued if they had to locate a colleague in the office or schedule a formal meeting. In many instances, a quick message through a messaging app can be more effective than any other form of communication— it can allow colleagues to exchange useful information without a considerable lapse in their workflow. Communication tools can also be a fun way to boost employee morale, as they can be used to send GIFs and emojis, celebrate occasions like work anniversaries or birthdays, share inside jokes, and more.
3. It allows your business to scale effectively
Cloud-based technologies have become the new normal as today’s businesses awake to the many benefits offered by the cloud. From increasing data security, to accommodating mobile access, and even cutting costs, the advantages of the cloud can satisfy organizations of all sizes. Perhaps one of its most valuable characteristics is its scalability; it allows your business to easily upscale or downscale your IT requirements as and when required. Some cloud providers operate on a “pay-as-you-use” principle, which means the offering can scale as your company does.
Modern cloud suites offer a myriad of business applications, which organizations can use to enhance functionality or add additional services on demand. These applications are tailored to meet the specific needs of your business and often include solutions for enterprise resource planning (ERP), human capital management (HCM), supply chain management (SCM), and even marketing. Using the cloud is also cost effective. Using an Infrastructure as a Service (iaas) allows you to pay as you go for storage, networking, and virtualization. As the needs of your business expand, your workload grows, or your offerings differentiate, you can opt to add new applications to your cloud suite that simplify your business functions.
Take Reliance Jio for example, whose mobile streaming application surged during last year’s Cricket World Cup. As Rohit Sharma led India to a 6-wicket win over South Africa, bursts of viewers ranging from 100,000 to as many as 5 million users would hit the app at the same time, inevitably reaching 20 million subscribers livestreaming the match from their mobile phones at the same time. However, because cloud services are delivered virtually on an “as-needed basis,” companies of all sizes can manage ebbing and flowing workloads, without breaking their backs or their budgets. For Reliance Jio, this means their customers didn’t experience any outages or delays, and their offering operates as smoothly at 20 million viewers as it did at 2 million.
4. It fuels organizational innovation
Cloud computing gives today’s organizations the ability to keep up with ever-changing technology. With cloud technology, businesses are able to update any software or platform as new versions are released. It doesn’t require any system overhauls to get employees up to speed. In the world of SaaS, the cloud provider updates your ERP several times a year with the latest features, capabilities, and best practices. It levels the playing field for companies—from startups to Fortune 500—by giving them all access to the same technologies.
In order for businesses to remain a fierce competitor in today’s marketplace, it’s important to stay up to date with modern technologies. In fact, although many of today’s cloud users originally opted to move to the cloud due to cost savings, the majority now cite “staying current on technology” as a top benefit.
Whether it's customer service, eCommerce, payment processing, back-end operations, or security—you need access to the latest features to optimize cost efficiency and maximize the ROI of your cloud investment. Not all cloud providers dedicate the same resources toward research and development. For example, Infor Lawson dedicates just $489 million annually, whereas other leaders in the space spend up to $6 billion. Be sure to find a cloud vendor that updates its offerings several times a year with the latest features, capabilities, and best practices.
5. It creates a foundation for new work styles
An analysis done by FlexJobs and Global Workplace Analytics found that there has been a major upward trend in the amount of people working remotely in the U.S. In the span of one year, from 2016 to 2017, remote work grew 7.9%. Over the last five years it grew 44% and over the previous 10 years it grew 91%.
Whether it be working remotely, taking advantage of flexible work hours, or partaking in freelance work, many new styles of work have emerged in recent years that would not have been possible if it weren’t for emerging technologies. Although these styles might be the ideal scenario for many members of today’s workforce, the flexible and mobile nature of work today offers both unique advantages and challenges to employers and employees.
Aside from the communication and collaboration benefits that were mentioned previously, the cloud can also be beneficial to improve employees’ flexibility and productivity. Technology changes—in hardware and software—happen frequently. A cloud computing environment provides a better alternative for managing and applying these updates and adjusting to changes throughout your organization. The cloud also provides the ability to work from anywhere, from any device, at any hour during the day. Employees today expect to always be connected, and the cloud makes that possible.
With that said, the cloud can also boost employee productivity. Many employees work best when they feel comfortable. In addition to creating a comfortable office environment, employers can also enable them to work from the places they are most comfortable via cloud computing. The cloud provides remote, secure access to the documents and applications they need to be productive from anywhere. Whether employees need a quiet place to concentrate or a coffee shop filled with the white noise of espresso machines and casual conversation, the cloud can provide the proper tools for them to do so.
As business technologies continue to grow, the cloud will continue to gain momentum as a vital component for business success. The cloud and its many functions provide today’s organizations with an array of benefits, and is sure to be a useful investment for future business success.