More and more companies are taking the leap to working in the cloud, as the headline of ICT community Belgium Cloud’s Cloud Barometer suggests: “Public Cloud prevails in Belgium”. That doesn’t surprise us – just look at the various benefits the cloud environment has to offer: fixed infrastructure costs become flexible and company data are available wherever and whenever you need them. But what’s the ultimate reason for a company to take the step to cloud computing? At the start of May, Xylos had a round-table discussion with some of its clients to discover their top three motivations:
For most participants, the New Way of Working (NWOW) is the key motivator to move to a cloud environment. Why? Because using the cloud makes working remotely a lot easier. We noticed an interesting common point: during the discussion, our clients often linked the introduction of a NWOW concept to moving to a new office.
A physical move to a new work environment seems to imply a digital move as well. Vandemoortele is an excellent example: the food company chose to redesign its physical workplace so they could work more flexibly. “We wanted to move toward a new way of working and designed our new building so that the physical space makes NWOW possible. To make flexi-working easier, we also decided to move our on-premises datacentre to our online environment. The cloud was practically made for this”, says Geert Vervust, the company’s Digital & Business Applications Manager.
What if employees could decide the model and brand of their own work devices? The Bring Your Own Device policy was trendy for a while because it allowed employees the freedom to pick just about any work device. But more and more companies are letting BYOD evolve into Choose Your Own Device, a policy where the IT department selects the possible work devices and employees can choose from this list. The reason is simple: this approach allows for more control and transparency. Still, both policies mean that a range of different devices are used – which all have unique specifications.
Adjusting your on-premises IT infrastructure to cope with this would be a herculean task, because one of the key traits of BYOD/CYOD and working flexibly is that you can access your e-mails and documents via other devices than your own device. The cloud simplifies this process.
We also use the cloud outside of work, even though we’re not always aware of it. Just think of services like OneDrive, Dropbox or WeTransfer, which are ingrained in many people’s lives - and which occasionally appear in our work environment, too. Especially when we’re confronted with something we can’t do with our current corporate infrastructure.
The drawbacks? Imagine you’re an employee who wants to send a large attachment that exceeds Outlook’s file size limit. If this happens, it’s easy to turn to services like WeTransfer or Dropbox to forward the file to the recipient quickly, isn’t it? The catch is that this situation confronts the IT department with the phenomenon of shadow IT: technology employees use within a company without alerting the IT department and over which the IT department has no control.
To avoid such situations, paper producer Sappi Europe migrated to Office 365. “We didn’t officially use WeTransfer, but occasionally, employees would use the service to forward files. Of course, the IT department wanted to prevent shadow IT from running rampant, which was part of the reason why we moved to Office 365 in the cloud. When shadow IT usage increases, employees are implicitly telling you that they’re missing some functionalities to be able to do their job properly. As their IT department, that’s our cue to find a solution that meets their demands”, says Florian Dunst, Manager Collaboration Systems & IT Project Portfolio for Sappi Europe.
The line between working on the internal company network and working wherever you want to is fading quickly - in some places, it’s already gone. Does your company want to create a decentralised world like this, where your employees can work on any device, anywhere and anytime? Xylos can create a unified workplace tailored specifically to your company.
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