In today’s volatile and disruptive market, agility has become a highly desired attribute for most organisations. However, achieving workplace agility is reliant on many factors, including people, workplace culture, the physical environment, operational models and also technology.
When it comes to the technology, cloud computing has shown to have a significant impact on unlocking agility within workplaces. A recent Harvard Business Review survey found that business agility is the primary advantage being delivered by cloud with 32 per cent of respondents stating it as their main reason for switching to cloud computing services.
Whether you’re leveraging cloud based software or you’ve taken the step to migrate your business’ IT totally to the cloud, here are some of the ways cloud computing can help boost workplace agility, unlock innovation and improve productivity.
- Anywhere, any device working
A trait of agile working is being able to work in different environments based on what you’re trying to achieve, whether that’s at a traditional office desk, a breakout space, meeting colleagues in a café, working from home or from a client’s office.
Being able to perform tasks and work no matter what device you use and where you might be, is a significant benefit of cloud computing.
This applies particularly to total cloud environments where all files, emails and business applications are all hosted and accessed in the cloud, as opposed to working with the likes of Office365 where files are stored on the local machine or in their personal OneDrive.
Total cloud environments also have significant security benefits. Having important company files and sensitive client information stored on local devices, like laptops, can be high risk. If the device is stolen or lost that information is compromised.
Likewise, if an employee’s device fails all their work or files saved locally could be lost – unless there is a well maintained backup solution on each and every device, an option which can considerably drive up the costs of maintenance and support.
Operating in a total cloud environment negates both of these risks as all data and files is hosted securely in data centres and constantly backed up. This means that workers can have full productivity and IT functionality no matter where they might be working. Plus, the company knows the information they are working on is protected.
- Remain focused on innovation
Again, this applies mostly to businesses that operate in 100 per cent in cloud environments. With little IT infrastructure to maintain and update, you are more available to focus on business critical tasks and innovation.
Having no on-premise server(s) means you no longer have to worry about performing regular backups, making sure you have adequate virus protection or applying updates to any of your business applications.
Cloud computing has also made it much easier to work on innovative new business initiatives and models to create new value and revenue opportunities. This is an attractive proposition for SMEs as cloud can reduce the barriers to entry.
- Scalability and cost benefits
It doesn’t matter what industry you are in or what size business you have, your main goal is likely to be growth. A great benefit of many cloud services is the ability to easily add new users or scale the level of support you need.
Rather than having to invest significantly in more hardware and upgraded physical servers, all you need to do is increase your subscription level – most times new users or additional capacity can be added in under an hour.
Cloud computing continues to be a disruptive force in how businesses can operate and grow. It’s the businesses that are open to embracing the benefits that cloud technology can bring that are the ones that will be able to leverage things like increased agility, better productivity as well as better client engagement and stickiness.
Andrew Tucker is the CEO of ITonCloud, a hosting service providing practical Cloud Computing solutions for small and medium businesses.