How Cloud Computing is Changing the Way We Work and Live
Effectively changing the business operation model through the Cloud
Where once you could find SOA and interactive “time-sharing,” now there is generally just the Cloud. As far as technology solutions, cloud computing is just a baby in the IT world—it wasn't until 2008-10 that companies like IBM, Amazon, and Microsoft released their first cloud software. But in the span of the last three years alone, the Cloud has become a force to be reckoned with, in both the corporate and private sectors.
The reason behind this growing trend is simple: cloud computing is more efficient than previous business operation models. Of course, each organization stands to benefit from the Cloud in different ways. For instance, a small start-up business may be able to create a technology infrastructure that they couldn't afford before. Or a multi-national conglomerate may be able to provide secure access to company data for its employees all around the world.
But there are also a few common ways in which cloud computing is changing the way we work—and live—as a society in general.
The Work-From-Home Phenomenon
In spite of Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer's controversial new policy mandating that employees come into the office, working from home is becoming more and more commonplace. The traditional image of the American workingman or woman used to be going into the office from 9 to 5, Monday through Friday (if you were lucky), with a briefcase in tow. But the arrival of cloud technology has changed all that.
Through the Cloud, employees can now access company files and documents that they would traditionally have to go to the office to get. Essentially, cloud computing means that your office can be anywhere there is internet connection, which these days, is most places—at home, on the road, in the nearest Starbucks.
Cloud computing makes working from home not only possible, but even profitable for some businesses. Employees working remotely tend to be more productive, more efficient, and willing to put in longer hours since they are able to benefit from the greater flexibility of working from home.
The BYOD Trend
For employees that do come into the office still, many are bringing their own laptops, smartphones and/or tablets with them, preferring these devices over machines that they are less familiar with. Furthermore, cloud computing is speeding up this trend by allowing employees to access corporate systems and apps using their personal devices, without posing a risk to the on-site infrastructure.
Making IT Forecasting Less Frightening
For decades, IT forecasting was about as reliable as trying to predict the weather. In the standard business IT model, a company's IT staff was counted on to estimate the business's technology needs for 5 to 10 years in advance so that they could make the appropriate preparations and purchases. But what if the forecast is wrong? Oftentimes they were, leaving businesses scrambling to acquire more data storage or personnel.
With cloud computing, businesses never have to worry about running out of data storage space. While IT forecasts are still important for estimating the type of server capacity you will need to support the data, it is much cheaper to increase cloud storage space than on-site server space. The Cloud frees you up from having to worry so much about the cost of scaling up your data capacity when needed.
The IT Makeover
You may have noticed that IT departments look a little different these days. Rather than staffing a full-blown IT team, many companies are outsourcing most of their IT support to a cloud vendor. Maintaining an in-house IT staff is still critical to business innovation, but the Cloud has allowed companies to scale down their IT department. This also frees up the remaining IT staff to focus on more important cost-value technology solutions
The Toyota Example
If you still aren't convinced that cloud computing is changing the world, just take a look at Toyota. The Japanese automaker recently moved their entire organization—some 200,000 employees worldwide—to Microsoft 365. The reason: “to do something more meaningful for our customers or our business”— said Zack Hicks, Toyota 's chief technology executive in North America .
And “meaningful” changes are indeed coming from the auto giant, including:
Semi-autonomous vehicles that can help the elderly get around
Steering wheels that can measure a driver's vital signs and transmit them to a doctor
Cars that can alert authorities if a driver's health condition is unsafe
Vehicles that offer a host of connected, Internet-based apps supported by Microsoft Azure—from a Facebook app, to an app that awards eco-points for the number of miles driven on electric power
All this just because Toyota gave their IT staff a little extra time to focus on more worthwhile projects, rather than dealing with simple data storage maintenance and upgrades.
The Cloud may have started out as a ripple in a sea of data solutions and business technology, but in just a few years it has become the primary way we do work. And we look forward to seeing how cloud computing revolutionizes the way we live in the years to come.
At Innovative Architects, our quick-hit Cloud Readiness assessment can help you understand how to minimize costs and improve productivity by migrating from your existing platform to Microsoft Azure or another cloud platform.
To determine how your company can benefit from the Cloud, contact us today for an expert technology consultation.