The race to the cloud has flown through 2017 in style with virtually every business today using some sort of Cloud technology. Whether it is for storage (think Amazon Web Services, DropBox, Google Drive, Azure), business applications (SalesForce, Office 365, DocuSign), or collaboration (Slack and Cisco WebEx), the Cloud is everywhere and it is here to stay. For IT folks, the race to the Cloud often came with a semi-friendly nudge from senior executives, who pushed the idea of the cloud because of a mystical-like promise of a faster, leaner, and more agile business model. Many medium to large scale organizations that have largely shed their bulky layers of technology infrastructure for the brightly lit future of clouds, automation, robots and rainbows are now all left asking themselves the same question: Now what?
By 2018, Forbes is projecting that more than 50% of IT spending will be cloud-based, and 60-70% of all software, services, and technology will by cloud based by 2020.
Over the past few years, we have seen tangible results from early cloud adopters. Smaller companies and startups were able to compete and grow with the big dogs by not having to burden themselves with a heavy internal IT burden, and employees were able to reap the benefits of mobility by staying productive and connected while on the move. Once it was proven that companies could truly unload IT tasks and risk without negatively affecting the user experience, the sprint was on and the server rooms began to shrink. With the dream mostly realized, IT teams now must show that it was all worth it. Below are a few examples of how Cloud loving companies are working towards the future.
Happy Team, That’s the Dream!
IT has typically been about helping employees do their job, but with traditional internal infrastructure to manage, IT teams are often seen as a roadblock to success rather than a helping hand. One of the dreams of Cloud adopters is to increase productivity, and when IT teams don’t have to patch servers and monitor systems, that’s an actual possibility.
One way Cloud adopters are working to keep people happy is through single identity platforms such as Okta. Okta allows companies to integrate the Software-as-a-Service platforms that they use under one identity. Basically, it lets you use one password for multiple different online platforms. SaaS applications have dominated the Cloud landscape as they crush traditional installation based applications when it comes to mobility and usability. While a positive, SaaS applications have caused additional headaches since users now have four or five different passwords or websites to remember.
Okta, and platforms like it, allow employees the flexibility of finding and using whatever SaaS application that suits their needs. In the past, bogged down IT teams could take months to approve a new SaaS application and develop a single sign-on method, but with the Cloud, this is a must more reasonable possibility.
Gather Data, Then Use It
The Internet of Things (IoT) connects devices to the internet, allowing for cool automation projects and of course, more data. A lot of the data from internet connected devices is just sitting there waiting to be mined. This data can help executives make faster and more accurate decisions, such as gathering stats on meetings spaces that are over or under used, keep track of meeting room equipment such as projector lightbulbs, and other previously unknown information.
Business Intelligence (BI) has been another IT buzzword that signals that the future of technology is coming, yet not enough businesses have fully embraced this concept in a useful way. Some Managed Service Providers (MSPs) have developed business intelligence dashboards for IT teams and executives to quickly review their IT environment in real-time, and make sound business decisions using that data. Getting a real-time look at your internet bandwidth, user’s networking habits, and printer statistics, for example, can help you promote proper internet usage and make adjustments that will help your employees in the end.
Foster Collaboration and Creativity
Collaboration is the other new business buzzword that is driving real change. Without proper collaboration tools, however, this will be a hard goal to achieve. In the past, companies would equip employees with an email account, maybe a basic instant messaging platform, and a teleconferencing platform when needed. This provided basic communication tools, but lacked modern amenities such as reliable video conferencing, document co-authoring and sharing, and document libraries that can be accessed and edited anytime from anywhere.
With a demand for newer collaboration tools, IT teams that have freed up time and resources by moving to the cloud can now properly embrace and roll-out tools like Slack, Cisco Jabber, Video Conferencing Rooms, and SharePoint Online. The idea of keeping employees connected has evolved way past phones and email, and now companies really need to continue the cloud push by developing easy to use collaboration tools.
The cloud continues to dominate the tech landscape, and now, companies must start looking past the cloud and decide what the next move is going to be.