How to utilise the cloud to collaborate effectively

Unless you have been walking around with your eyes and ears shut for the past few years, you will have heard a lot about cloud computing.

The cloud or Software as a Service (SaaS) model, actually dates all the way back to 1999, but it is now commonplace in business. In fact, 84 per cent of UK companies have now adopted two or more cloud services according to a recent report by the Cloud Industry Forum.

The emergence of the cloud has dramatically changed the way businesses operate and collaborate. With trends such as flexible working and the gig or sharing economy on the rise, communication is now more important than ever to enable colleagues to keep in touch regardless of time zone or location.

Here are just a few of the ways the cloud can be utilised to ensure effective collaboration:

Access anywhere

With the gig economy rising to prominence, an increasing number of professionals are choosing contract and short-term work over full-time. This means, employees need the right technology to be able to communicate and work effectively from any location.

Tools such as Google Docs allow staff to access and edit documents online and cloud-based video conferencing provides employees with the ability to have face-to-face interaction even when working remotely.

Flexibility

Following the introduction of the UK government’s flexible working initiative, more workers are choosing to work flexibly to help improve their work-life balance. To maintain workplace productivity when out of the office, the cloud is essential.

Mobility

With the cloud it is possible to use any device from any location to collaborate, if you’re running late to a meeting or without any Wi-Fi, you can use the 4G on your phone or tablet on the move instead. In today’s always-on, always-connected world, staff need the option to work whenever they need to and on various devices on the go.

Up-to-date tech

Organisations need to be using the latest technology to stay ahead of the competition. With the cloud, you are not using hardware which will soon become outdated, but software which is likely to be updated and refreshed frequently.

Whilst it offers a great way for businesses to operate in the digital economy and helps improve the worker experience by encouraging flexible working, there are also key challenges businesses still face when using cloud. As more staff make use of trends such as BYOD, the higher the threat of security becomes. Organisations should ensure there are quality checks and security in place when staff bring their own devices into enterprise networks. Another issue for cloud can be connectivity, without strong and reliable bandwidth, tools like video conferencing can sometimes be challenging. Workers should always try to check Wi-Fi capabilities before entering into video calls to save difficulties.

All in all, a huge proportion of businesses now use the cloud in the daily routine. Whether it is for flexibility, mobility or collaboration, it’s potentially crucial for success in today’s digital economy. With the world’s personal cloud alone estimated to be worth $90 billion by 2020 – it’s fair to say that cloud is huge business.

As today’s workforce continues to evolve, companies should ensure they have everything in place to provide cloud computing and the benefits that come with it.

James Campanini VP & GM EMEA, Blue Jeans