The Inextricable Link Between Cloud Technology And The New, Untethered Workforce

Cloud computing has changed more than just how applications are bought, where they run and how data is stored.

It has changed the interaction between customers, code and business outcomes. More importantly for business information technology executives, it creates opportunities to lead initiatives well beyond the traditional IT stack — into areas ranging from e-learning to customer service. And instead of simply being a more efficient way of doing work, it’s giving IT leaders the ability to reshape work for the better.

No wonder a Harvard Business Review story hails the cloud as “the most impactful information technology of our time.”

Business leaders are turning to enterprise cloud technology because the nature of work itself is changing. It can no longer be defined as a single place in a fixed office, and a job description is more of fuzzy guideline than an out-and-out rule. As a result, work is stifled when it’s bounded by a predictable, cookie-cutter stack of devices and software.

According to the 2018 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends report, employees at 91 percent of organizations work outside their designated functional areas. Thirty-five percent do so regularly. The old model of static software installations on fixed computers doesn’t flex or scale to these demands.

To keep track of who’s doing what and how, companies are dramatically increasing reliance on cloud collaboration and social media interaction for work communication. In the Deloitte report, 70 percent of organizations say they will expand their use of online collaboration platforms, and 67 percent will make more use of work-based social media. To free up time, they’ll curtail phone calls (seen decreasing by 30 percent of businesses) and face-to-face meetings (projected to decline by 44 percent of respondents).

The earlier waves of enterprise cloud tech focused on transforming a functional area or customer-facing process into a browser tab. That was valuable, but a screen full of browser tabs is little different than a desktop full of application icons. And the growth in these solutions created provisioning headaches, security challenges and regulatory risks. It was difficult to ensure consistent, centrally controlled permissions that gave employees the right amount of access at the right times, and to track the way sensitive information was used in a consistent manner.

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