How cloud technologies can break down barriers within an organisation

Cloud technologies allow more productive and flexible ways for companies to manage their IT, disrupting entire business models and break down barriers within and among organizations.

The acceleration of technological advancement has undoubtedly seen multiplying effects and consequences for every industry to “adapt or die”. We know and have seen that the Internet of Things will change the world of FM by changing the nature of work, remove obstacles for collaboration and create opportunities for FMs to help reorganize workplaces and make them more effective. The exponential development of information and communication technologies (ICT) means that, just five years from now, collaborative technologies will be at least 10 times better than they are today, and 100 times better ten years from now. Technology development enables new work practices, greater mobility, and virtual working, to name just a few examples and the subset of these technologies responsible for this will be through delivering internet-based services and applications into what is referred to as the cloud.

Cloud technologies break down barriers within and among organizations

Cloud technologies will break down barriers within and among organizations over the long- term by delivering internet-based services and applications that can be accessed from any device. It was allow more productive and flexible ways for companies to manage their IT, disrupting entire business models, giving rise to new approaches that are asset-light, highly mobile, and flexible. Tech companies like Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Adobe, HP, and Rackspace are all offering cloud solutions because businesses are attracted by cloud computing’s potential to:

  • Reduce costs by allowing companies to cut ICT-related labour costs by as much as 50 per cent
  • Allow access to information anytime, anywhere and from any device, and providing companies with better management and control over their data
  • Ease of collaboration internally and externally by getting rid of back-end integration issues
  • Scalable and elastic computing
  • Improve efficiency by removing power costs, need for dedicated spaces for ICT infrastructure, and need for software updates, etc.

The next wave of convergence

Technology development and cloud technologies are enabling the further convergence of support units – IT, FM, and HR – enabling greater interoperability and transparency. The next wave of convergence, called 5D, links data/files to timelines and objects all in real time. These technologies provide the opportunity to use tools and solutions built for their expert processes and workflows, but have the ability to share discrete pieces of data/workflows that affect other business in real-time. The final wave of convergence will allow the organization to merge both financial and physical data from HR; IT, and FM units to act more holistically.

Spending on cloud computing is increasing

Attracted by these benefits, everyone from small-medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to major companies are all spending more on cloud computing. According to Richard Moore, a Gartner analyst, spending on the cloud services globally is expected to rise from $91 billion in 2012 to $109 billion in 2013, and cloud spending could nearly double to $207 billion by 2016. McKinsey’s Global Institute estimates that companies and organizations could increase productivity by up to $1.7 trillion by 2025.

Barriers around cloud technology

While cloud services could provide all of the aforementioned benefits, there are still several challenges that FM companies could assist companies in solving towards 2020. According to studies of the Danish market for cloud computing, the barriers concerning cloud technology has less to do with technology and economics, and more to do with the fear of losing control and lack of clarity surrounding their actual capabilities. Many respondents in the Danish study do not think that the technology is ready to take on strategic enterprises’ critical functions. As a result, cloud technology solutions are disconnected from organizational strategies: “The analysis shows that there is currently not a meaningful connection between companies’ business strategies and cloud technology.”

As the challenges related to cloud computing are overcome and more companies are beginning to adopt cloud solutions, many integration challenges that have developed among departments and business units (both within companies and between companies over the last thirty years, due to the development of proprietary systems) will also be overcome. This will permit the development of more openness and sharing between companies.

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