Cloud system set to revolutionise office environment
With more businesses moving their processes to 'the cloud' - online storage and software services allowing their staff to access the information from anywhere and from any device with an internet connection - is the traditional office environment under threat?
The Yellow Door, an award-winning restaurant and catering chain, is one of Nimbus CS' clients and recently made the move to cloud computing, moving all their business processes online. This enables them to locate staff anywhere in the world, giving them the ability to access their systems and work at events such as weddings, evening parties or other restaurants as if they were here in the office, without any additional cost or workload for them.
So what are the implications for your business?
The implications for businesses are huge. No longer do you need to have your own server on-site, or even pay rent on a huge office to accommodate all your workers at once. With correct use of cloud computing you could employ a large workforce working remotely or part-remotely, with full communication between the team, access to a wide range of corporate software through their internet connection. At the moment there are some tasks which still require their own locally-installed software (think graphics design software). However technology is changing fast and perhaps in a few years there will be some cloud-based solutions for that, too.
The cost element is of course, important to all businesses, and through proper use of technology it can be possible to cut down on expenses such as travel and accommodation considerably by using voice/video conference calls, online collaborative workspaces and document sharing systems.
Where will this take us?
I believe that in the future we will have much smaller offices - or perhaps one larger office and several smaller 'satellite' offices, allowing people to work in the location closest to their home. More will have the option to work from home, saving their own commute, as well as improving work/life balance, because cloud computing will become more affordable for any business - small to large.
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There will be high-profile cases where businesses have moved to the cloud and without fully thinking through the implications - particularly in the area of data protection - however, for many, I believe moving to cloud computing will actually improve their awareness of data protection and provide systems which they could not afford to implement individually. This will inevitably require some creativity from personnel/HR departments when managing staff, ensuring that they are actually working when remote working agreements are in place, however I think this is a chance for us to rise to the occasion, and make the best use of the technology available to us.
- Gareth McAlister is managing director of Belfast-based company Nimbus CS