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BYOD, Social Media and New Cloud Consumption Models

Bringing You the Workplace Revolution

Kids get sick, cars malfunction, pipes break, bad-hair days occur, and the list goes on. Life simply happens.  But thanks to technology, it no longer means the end of the world for that work day. With a rapidly growing change in workplace ideologies like BYOD (Bring your own device), and technologies like TelePresence, Jabber and WebEx, I have the ability to work almost anywhere at any time, even if things prevent me from getting to the office that day.

Given the explosion of social media technologies in the past few years, it only makes sense that BYOD is taking off like a firestorm—even among small businesses—as covered in two recent blogs,  ‘Business Ready: On the Go and in the Clouds’ and ‘Supersizing Your Small Business.’  In fact, the Cisco Connected World Technology Report found that two of five college students and young employees would accept a lower-paying job that had more flexibility with BYOD, social media access, and mobility than a higher-paying job with less flexibility. So what about those at companies with very little flexibility when it comes to devices? Seven out of ten employees knowingly break IT policies on a regular basis, and three out of five believe that it is not their responsibility to keep the company secure. The bottom line: the workplace revolution is happening (and it’s being video streamed on your mobile device).

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In Between the Numbers: Cutting Through the Cloud

 My colleague Bharat Popat and I just published a perspective on Cloud computing for retail that we think will help retail technologists cut through the cloud around Cloud.

 Our hypothesis is that Cloud basically consists of custom combinations of four IT best practices:

  • Virtualization.
  • Network-centric enterprise and store ICT architectures.
  • The acquisition of services – ranging from enterprise applications to infrastructure to complete business processes.
  • The pursuit (and use) of new financial models.

 All of which are in rapid adoption throughout developed world retailing (and enterprises in general.)

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A Thoroughly Modern Government

From adopting more mobile communication to converting operational systems to cloud-based applications, the federal government undoubtedly has a modernizing makeover underway. Though challenges persist in terms of security and easing transitions, efforts to update technology help the government keep pace with the private sector and best serve its constituents.

These technology upgrades also open wide the doors to vastly expanded communication possibilities.  For example, let’s look at how the cloud lends itself to more streamlined, personal connections among colleagues, across agencies, and from government workers to their target audiences. I’ve written about agencies and officials using video and telepresence to forge in-person, real-time links for teleworking employees, to maintain continuity during business disruptions, even to conduct top-secret missions. Well, with cloud computing in the mix, telepresence can still perform all of its regular functions, but it does so in conjunction with access to scheduling mechanisms, global directories, and advanced media services that enhance video-hosted information-sharing. In essence, the cloud makes a critical communication tool like telepresence all the more powerful.

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Build and they will come…

“If you build it, they will come” is one of those cliches that have been proved wrong over and over again throughout history. Cities, railway systems, buildings, airports, luxury residents and other such structures have been built, but barely or ever used. There are many interesting reasons for such failures – cost, location, convenience, surrounding dependencies to name a few, but all of these boiled down to some aspects of planning or lack thereof.

It is always fun to build something, say for example, a new Cloud infrastructure. Ok, I am sure you saw this Cloud association coming ! With all the technology and tools available to us, building a Cloud environment to meet our business needs is a challenging but interesting venture. Once this infrastructure is built, now what ? It is one thing to have a kick-“donkey synonym” state-of-the-art Cloud Data Center, but a whole different ball game to actually put users on it ! This is what I want to focus on, the “..they will come” part.

For most enterprise environments applications and data have evolved over time and it’s fair to state that they have a very complex dependency model. At the same time, the network, servers, storage and other Data Center elements have also evolved. Cloud service providers, regardless of what flavor of Cloud (Private/Public/XaaS), will have to think about how to interface the new Cloud environment with existing, often legacy environments.

Migrating and on-boarding tenants and applications from an existing system to new Cloud environment is not an easy process. If this is not thought through and diligently planned, then you run the risk of a Cloud environment under-utilized or idle.

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Bring Your Own SaaS to Work (BYOS)

The popular trend to “bring your own device” (BYOD) to work is not surprising to those who are informed about the recent past. This phenomenon was preceded by savvy employees that would introduce useful consumer-grade software applications to the enterprise – without the approval of gatekeepers within the corporate IT organization.

The early adoption of online instant messaging, wiki and blog platforms are noteworthy examples of where many corporate IT departments have been slow to embrace online collaboration applications. Moreover, when the approved enterprise-grade vendor has been chosen and the “solution” is deployed, sometimes it’s inferior to the consumer-grade offering.

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