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The Enterprise Cloud and the Cloudification of Work

Amazon, Facebook, LinkedIn and Netflix – these are just a few of the popular cloud-based applications I (and most of my peers) use every day. Our personal lives are enriched and managed by these easy-to-use Web-based services. In the office, not so much – work is still predominately email-driven and riddled with tedious tasks like updating spreadsheets. But that could be changing with the proliferation of new enterprise cloud services that are automating more parts of the daily grind, and freeing up the average worker bee to do more interesting things.

Enterprise and other cloud-based applications

Source: Wikipedia

As reported by Bloomberg, Forrester Research says cloud computing is in “hypergrowth” stage and predicts that corporate spend on the cloud will reach $191 billion in 2020, up from a projected $72 billion in 2014. Companies are increasingly replacing licensed software with subscription versions called software-as-a service (SaaS); in response tech giants like Microsoft, Oracle and HP are making big investments in the cloud and offering more SaaS solutions. Forrester predicts “by 2020, 25 percent of the total of $523 billion of software applications purchased will be software-as-a-service.” ServiceNow and Workday are a couple of the new cloud companies fueling the rapid adoption of SaaS across the enterprise—essentially doing for other areas of the business what Salesforce has done for sales and marketing teams.

I attended enterprise cloud conference Knowledge14 in San Francisco, hosted by MSLGROUP client ServiceNow. More than 6,600 hundred IT professionals, including CIOs from some of the world’s biggest companies, converged to talk about the transformative power of the cloud, how it fosters collaboration and knowledge-sharing, and enables them to provide value across their organization. ServiceNow shared its vision of the “service-oriented enterprise” that will be increasingly powered by self-service applications that are as simple and engaging to use as Amazon and Netflix.

CEO Frank Slootman underscored that for IT to remain relevant, it must move from managing technology assets to enabling and delivering engaging applications that drive new levels of efficiency and transparency at work. A common refrain heard during the show is that IT teams must be experts in the company’s business – it’s no longer good enough to just keep the computers running, IT must be able to tell the business what the opportunity is and make it happen.

CERN, the European nuclear research lab, is a prime example of a modern IT department that is transforming how the organization runs. CERN’s IT team has created self-service applications for HR, finance, procurement and facilities management that enable employees, applicants and visitors to get access to things, deal with problems and get things done. Like buying something on Amazon, CERN employees can track the progress of the request through to completion, and by automating workflows and processes things run better and more efficiently.

Enterprise cloud companies are not only dominating the tech landscape, they are actually having an impact on the everyday lives of PR professionals. We now have a host of Web-based tools for identifying influencers, tracking social activity and for managing large-scale campaigns for global consumer clients. Technologies will never supersede relationships in any business or allow us to ditch Excel spreadsheets all together, but they can streamline how we work and eliminate some of the drudgery so we can focus our efforts where they can have the biggest impact.

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Jill Reed

Jill Reed

Vice President at MSLGROUP

Jill focuses on enterprise technology, including big data, cloud, infrastructure and open source software.

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