cloud applications, in the workplace

These three experts share their wisdom on cloud applications in the workplace.

In February, a cloud portfolio management company called RightScale released its 2015 State of the Cloud Survey. The survey found, for example, that nearly all businesses are using some sort of infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) application, and that more companies are using the public cloud over private clouds. It also shows that companies are more willing than ever to introduce a greater variety of cloud applications in the workplace and appear to be listening to employees by adopting the applications they are already using.

“The tide of enterprise cloud adoption has shifted from shadow IT to strategic adoption led by central IT teams,” Michael Crandell, CEO of RightScale said in Yahoo!

In other words, more IT departments are more willing to accept the cloud computing applications that employees have already been using on their own devices. However, the current state of the cloud means different things to different cloud users and experts. I spoke with three such users and developers to get their feelings on why cloud adoption is on the rise, how it has improved over the past few years – and where it still has room for improvement – and finally, where cloud computing is heading. Here are their thoughts.

Scott Klososky is currently the principal at consulting firm Future Point of View and a former CEO of three successful tech startup companies. He believes that the cloud’s biggest selling point today is what it can do to improve costs and resources for IT departments.

“Moving to cloud-based services has the potential to lower operating costs, provide instant scalability of resources, and allow IT teams to focus on the high value aspects of technology like custom development of software, the power of data, and systems of engagement,” Klososky said, adding that cloud computing has improved with better dependability and stability over the years.

“I would like to see costs continue to drop, implementation get easier, and a better ability to move applications between vendors when needed,” he said. “There is little portability between vendors.”

Klososky sees the future of the cloud computing becoming business specific in the workplace.

“I believe cloud providers will go more vertical and create industry-based clouds that have specific capabilities needed by that industry. For example, a healthcare cloud, or a banking cloud, or an entertainment industry cloud for media.”

Matt Sodnicar calls himself a business technology ambassador who helps businesses grow strategically using IT. He sees the cloud’s biggest selling point today as its centralized access.

“The cloud really does allow remote work,” he said. However, he thinks cloud computing still has a reputation for unreliable security, and that could be holding back increased cloud adoptions. If people don’t trust it, they won’t use it.

While the perceived security risks may hinder cloud, Sodnicar thinks that one major big improvement that encourages migration is improved connectivity. Faster connections make it much more accessible and easier to use, for both business and personal use. He also credits the rise in the cloud’s popularity with the ease of use of public cloud offerings that has opened up cloud use to the general consumer.

And what does Sodnicar think the future holds? “More complete and comprehensive data sharing,” he said.

Jackie Wu is the founder of Eight Six Ninety-One Technologies, a robotics technologies company. Unlike others who have seen cloud computing re-invent the way we think of data storage or project collaboration, Wu sees the cloud as the way to make technology work better, faster, and smarter.

“Doing calculations and running algorithms over the cloud means that it frees up processing speed for physical devices on the ground, enabling all sorts of devices to be connected to the cloud and be ‘smart,’” he said.

Wu also likes that the cloud is more accessible to everyone. “Amazon’s Web servers were phenomenal in leading the industry. After getting it right, they opened it to the public. This is huge.”

But at the same time, he disagrees with Sodnicar when it comes to connectivity improvements. Wu believes that Wi-Fi connections still aren’t fast or stable enough universally to support the cloud, and this hampers the growth of the Internet of Things.

It is the Internet of Things where Wu expects the next wave of cloud growth to be generated. As more developers understand how to best use the cloud, there will be no limit to how the Internet will make the objects in our lives more connected.

Overall, the cloud has made IT professionals rethink the way software is developed and implemented, and it has employers considering new ways to approach workplace collaborations and workspaces. But most importantly, the state of the cloud today is a direct result of its popularity among average users who saw the way cloud storage and applications allowed them to be more efficient and productive.

This article was originally posted on Forbes.

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