Cloud services are on the move...

CloudServicesMark Fletcher, Head of Enterprise Strategic Relationships, believes that the mobile cloud is not just technology – it’s an attitude.

We’re coming to the end of the work/life balance debate. People are talking about ‘work moments’, where we weave our work around our personal lives. More and more people are working flexibly not only in terms of hours but also in location, supplemented with visits to the office. It’s a becoming a radical change of culture. Not just in the workplace: but everywhere.

One of the key factors driving this shift to a different way of working is the mobile cloud and its steady march into the consciousness and IT portfolios of enterprise organisations. At the strategic level, the mobile cloud addresses some of the biggest challenges faced by organisations today.   A survey conducted by Information Week in 2011 reports that over 90% of organisations they talked to have seen at least one area of improvement in their IT department since adopting cloud services. More than half report increased data centre efficiency and utilisation.  At the same time, businesses are increasingly reluctant to make the next big round of investment in PCs and infrastructure. They are recognising that mobile is set to become the standard platform for communication and productivity and want to focus their efforts there.  Indeed one of Gartner’s Top 11 Predictions for 2012 is that “Mobile application development projects targeting smartphones and tablets will outnumber native PC projects by a ratio of 4-to-1 by 2015.”

Mobile Clouds (don’t you just love the picture it conjures up) deliver much more than efficiencies. They enable the ability to deliver networked applications and other services to remote smartphones, tablets and laptops.  The investment in infrastructure now extends beyond the office walls and out to wherever users can connect to the internet. It has unlocked new possibilities for flexible working and mobility and created an inflection point in the way we think about work.

If you think ahead five years and envisage where the mobile cloud could take us, the new possibilities are truly seductive.

Clouds in the blue sky

What happens to the drag of commuting and the struggling road infrastructure if millions of us can work anywhere we can connect? These are far-reaching social and economic questions, but they are becoming increasingly relevant as the mobile cloud changes the way we work.  So the mobile cloud can bring much more than organisational and data efficiencies, it can deliver something much more tangible.  A better quality of life, a more engaged and loyal employee and less drain on our UK infrastructure.  Those are big concepts and contributors.

Shaping the mobile cloud

Who is driving these ideas and the evolution of mobile cloud?  We are, the people.  The boom in smartphones and tablets has prompted more and more people to bring their own technology into the workplace.  Dell KACE research September 2011 research found that “87% of IT professionals surveyed said employees are using personal devices for work purposes.”

This move to consumerisation has created the need to manage a wide range of different devices, running different operating systems, all wanting to connect to the business network. The flexibility and versatility of cloud services can create the perfect solution.

Great talent is increasingly scarce, so flexible working hours and the freedom to use your own technology are significant assets for recruitment and retention.  They are seen as genuine value and benefit by employees, we know this from our own findings and feedback here at O2.  In a material culture, the ability to have some flexibility and freedom around work is highly prized.

So you can turn to us for some radical new strategic thinking on the nature of work and the structure of the organisation. It may sound a bit blue sky, but that’s where the mobile cloud is taking us.

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