Today, mobile devices combined with the cloud can fulfill most computing tasks, and any tradeoffs are outweighed in the minds of the user by the convenience and flexibility provided by the mobile devices. The emergence of more-natural user interface experiences is making mobility practical. As companies seek to bridge the divide between work and outside-the-office environments, and the different levels of technology found there, they need to have clearly articulated technology policies that will support workers while maintaining corporate security. That seems to be only one of the concerns in the latest brief outlining how using cloud services benefits mobile workers and those operating virtual offices.
Dr Steven Turner, vice president of IT optimization consultancy Intergence, predicts that by 2020, around 80 percent of employees may be working outside their organization. Increasingly, knowledge workers today expect instant online access via the types of laptops, smartphones, and tablets they use outside of work. IT’s ultimate goal is to harness the trends behind consumerization that will increase employee engagement and productivity while alleviating their own tech burden. One of the largest challenges for IT teams within a small business is trying to predict what services will be needed in the future if technology circumstances suddenly change.
The problem is that they’re changing all the time. The increased use of smart devices in the workplace poses significant control and support problems for IT. Data security is another issue because corporate information can be compromised through lost or stolen technology.
Mobile devices, especially laptops, also increase the possibility of malware infiltrations and viruses that can easily spread throughout a small company. According to Dr. Turner, “…if [a] company expands quickly, then more employees and resources will be required to support and enable the business to perform optimally. However, investing too much, too soon could also be potentially disastrous. Secondly, regardless of location, employees can use cloud services to share files, access business services, talk to each other or collaborate on shared documents in real time.”
Employees are excited about the potential of using their own mobile devices and accessing the cloud in the workplace. For example, it’s become an accepted fact that bringing your own device to work (BYOD) has its advantages; user comfort, social media access for business tasks, and near 24/7 responsiveness, which all translate to increased user productivity. Moreover, SMBs acquire immediate access to innovative technology and applications, increased workplace collaborations, and cost savings due to employee-owned devices, to name a few.
Dr. Turner states, “Cloud computing allows people to build a geographically diverse team that works together with all the benefits of improved productivity and better communication… To help ease the burden on the business, remote employees should be able to take advantage of cloud services which provide users with virtually unlimited computing power, whilst establishing a much more flexible infrastructure that can grow with the business requirements.”
Intergence has recently announced a series of IT Optimization health check seminars being held in Leeds, London and Edinburgh during May 2012.
Edited by Carrie Schmelkin