Keeping My Head in the Clouds

by Elizabeth Vanneste

How often were you told to “get your head out of the clouds” when you were a kid?  “Pay attention!”  “Stay focused!”  “Get serious!”  Were you raised thinking out of the box was discouraged and not a path to a successful career?   I have been fortunate to have stumbled into a career in technology and telecommunications where I have been able to draw clouds at work almost every day since the mid-1980s.  Of course, we didn’t talk about the cloud much outside of work back then – it was simply a way to describe a network in which data or voice could travel over a variety of different paths to connect end-users.  And now, after years of using clouds on whiteboards and in PowerPoint, the rest of the world has caught on!  Now, it is actually COOL to have your head in the clouds.

Not only is the network part of the cloud, but applications are too.  The ability to access applications is no longer limited to a physical office or a specific device.  Workers are remote.  They are mobile. And, they use multiple devices – PCs, Smartphones, and tablets – to access the cloud and improve productivity.

What’s so great about having your head in the clouds?  Well, here’s a list of things you no longer have to worry about:

  1. The next named storm (or other disaster). Here, in hurricane country, we need to be prepared for the next big storm, but I know that our company can continue to operate even if our office building is out of commission.  Our cloud based system can route our calls wherever we happen to be because of system and network redundancy.  This means we can continue to support our customers and stay in business despite these types of complications.
  2. Technology obsolescence.  Are you an early adopter who always buys the latest and greatest only to have your bubble burst when a newer version is available 3 months later?  Or, are you still using the mobile phone you bought 3 years ago?  In either case – the cloud will set you free!  Pay for applications and services as you need them with the confidence of knowing, that as newer technologies and additional applications are deployed, they will be available in the cloud.  You no longer need to predict the winners and the losers, as cloud providers will offer a menu of choices that you can choose and pay for when you need it.
  3. Access to Talent. Knowledge workers are a company’s most valued asset.  When one of our key team members’ spouses relocated, we were able to keep her in the company because the cloud enables us to work remotely and be integrated into the rest of the business. We have had great employees relocate and are still part of our team because of the cloud.
  4. Capital Budgets and unpredictable growth patterns. Does your company set a capital budget but then scramble to provide infrastructure for an unexpected 30 new hires? Or does your company regularly over-estimate need and then have unused capacity? With a cloud based solution, you no longer need to scramble. You can add and remove users as needed. So, your expenses are aligned with your business’s needs and you can invest your capital into growing the business.

So what are you waiting for?  Now is the time to have your head in the clouds!