How can cloud computing improve productivity?
Productivity in the workplace is a very delicate topic for which there are several schools of thought. Some people tend to think that only intrusive micro-management is the only way to boost productivity while others might be more inclined to take a more delicate approach by offering incentives.
Regardless of the exact approach you or your company takes to stimulate productivity, you must not forget about the role that technology can play in assisting daily operations. For instance, it could be said that an organization’s IT assets and resources play an integral role in either aiding or inhibiting productivity. This is largely because it is through IT that all inter-office communications, file sharing, information logging, data storage, and collaborative efforts are generally organized. Since cloud computing is more or less replacing / modifying traditional IT and incorporates emerging technologies, it might be a good idea to explore the ways in which it can help to boost general productivity.
There are essentially three ways that cloud computing (or any type of IT for that matter) can impact productivity.
- Utilizing known and emerging technologies
- Encouraging employee growth
- Improving communications
What makes cloud computing a more ideal candidate (as opposed to traditional IT) for addressing these three areas of concern is actually the technology that’s driving it. For example, Cloud computing can make use of virtually any type of application or software; an app can be packaged along with other programs and processes and then easily duplicated and copied.
In a traditional IT setup, a packaged set of processes is not so easily transferred among individual users, not only does this slow down the individual(s) performing work, it creates more redundant-style labor for IT as well. In other words, through cloud computing you can more easily create your own software-based solutions and deploy them instantly to as many users as needed. Likewise, there are a dizzying number of individual cloud-based services (email, online storage, and online file transfer) which can be leveraged nearly instantly to provide employees with on-the-spot solutions, thereby eliminating searching and downtime.
Also, by granting personnel access to a library of specific software products and solutions, you are giving them a deeper sense of responsibility and creative leeway to do their work. Protocols are great and often extremely necessary to facilitate any type of organized work, but it’s often impossible or unwieldy to provide your employees with an “A to B” goal and then limit their options for completing the task.
Quite simply, through cloud computing, a number of different pathways to completion of any particular task might open up. This freedom of choice creates and fosters a greater sense of desire from employees because they are given the opportunity to creatively address whatever work they are doing. Another fringe benefit of this is that more creative (or brilliant) solutions can be devised. As the old saying goes, “two heads are better than one”. If you have all of your employees actively searching for quicker, more efficient solutions to ongoing problems / work / duties (as opposed to simply following orders), you’re going to end up with increased productivity.
In terms of improving communications, cloud computing cannot be matched by traditional IT. In the same way that web tools, apps, and communication interfaces can improve connectivity, so too can cloud computing. Additionally, any type of web service, app, or software can be repacked or deployed on a cloud. This means that you can have a much cleaner interface for users with a greater number of individual points of communication. For instance, through cloud computing it would be possible for an organization to establish an in-house video messaging / conferencing service which might greatly improve inter-departmental communications and relations.
However, the use of cloud computing technologies will require the effort and understanding of your IT department personnel. If your business has yet to begin exploring this facet of IT preparedness you should know that now is a great time to do so. Currently, you can have an entire IT department certified or trained in one or multiple cloud computing disciplines at group discount rates. Moreover, since cloud computing certification can be delivered via the internet (e-learning), your IT employees will be able to engage in mobile learning.
To simply say that cloud computing can increase productivity in the workplace is a bit of an understatement. The truth is, cloud computing can effectively redesign the way your business approaches and accomplishes the work it performs on a daily basis. In this way, cloud computing is less a means to improving productivity and more of a comprehensive infrastructure which allows for the increased streamlining of inter-office activities.