If the future of cloud technology could be summed up in one word, it would be “more.” More business applications and capabilities are moving into the cloud each year. In fact, according to a recent Harvard Business Review study, nearly three out of four businesses expect to have at least half of their IT functions in the cloud by 2017.
While the steady adoption of cloud services is nothing new, the reasons behind its rise are changing. Companies aren’t embracing the cloud simply to save money anymore, nor is speed to market the main driver for cloud adoption.
The number one reason that businesses are moving more into the cloud today (according to the same Harvard study) is to improve collaboration.
If that seems surprising, it shouldn’t be. As more businesses move their communications into the cloud and unify them, more people are able to access those communications with any device, on any platform, from any location. By liberating communications from a host of different applications, the cloud creates a common platform where everyone can communicate and share ideas. And cloud-based communications can do this in a way that’s both secure (through identification, authentication and encryption) and contextually aware (e.g., integrating presence into communications).
Using the cloud as a collaboration platform allows enterprises to get more done, more quickly:
- More people participate in collaboration because everyone has access to the same tools and applications through the cloud
- Outdated software versions no longer create conflicts, as new software updates and features are rolled out to everyone automatically
- Files can easily be stored in (and shared from) the cloud, eliminating the need to send large email attachments to everyone
- Collaborative sessions can be launched quickly using real-time presence/availability features, rather than waiting hours for colleagues to respond to voice messages or email.
Despite the cloud’s natural advantages, the fact remains that few enterprises are ready to move all of their applications into the cloud. Security is still a concern for certain types of data, particularly where industry compliance carries strict requirements. Many enterprises, for example, prefer to keep emails and instant messages stored within their data center in order to have more control over security, policy and auditing. In such cases, a hybrid cloud solution may offer the best mix of security, scalability and a seamless user experience.
The benefit of a private cloud versus public cloud platform is something that we looked at closely when we built our MiTeam collaboration tool. Because both deployment options have their advantages, we decided that MiTeam should support both a private cloud environment as a premises-based solution and a pure cloud environment.
In a sense, this puts the “Mi” in MiTeam by allowing your enterprise to deploy cloud communications in a manner that works best for you. Ultimately, all communications—whether they’re hosted in the cloud or on a server in your data center—need to reflect our individuality if they’re to help us collaborate effectively.