How cloud computing is redefining management.

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As the cloud transforms the manner in which we interact with technology overall, businesses and consumers alike are now highly reliant on the vast number of services that are supplied via the same. In due course of the cloud making so much possible, it’s wise to ask just what has been influenced in and around, as well as how much. Business leadership and management in this case is an aspect that is a highly important one, as it eventually determines not just how companies are governed, but also the calibre of products that will be released for mass utilization.

When it comes to software outsourcing in Sri Lanka, there’s no doubt that the cloud has facilitated product development which is conveniently hosted on the cloud and is therefore accessible from anywhere – but is also advantaged to make the most of an expansive scale of cloud services that can optimize applications to be highly functional based on real-time data, round-the-clock security as well as easy scalability. While the many trends and features of cloud computing garner much buzz, let’s take a look at how business leaders are being impacted in their roles as visionaries, as they pilot their business objectives along an avenue that’s paved with numerous technological shifts.

A remote work environment

Before we get to the nitty-gritty of how the cloud has been influencing management in significantly quantifiable ways, it’s important to point out some immediate benefits owing to COVID-19. As basic as they may be, the conveniences of remote working have been made all the more prominent after the pandemic, as businesses have scrambled to construct remote work environments in order to keep processes running. Cloud support services are what have made this possible, especially as numerous vendors were incredibly competent enough to be more reachable, responsive and even offer their choicest services at a discount, or completely for free.

As a result, the cloud has been beneficial here on a two-pronged approach; by offering the platforms necessary for a remote work environment, while also leveraging services provided by enterprise vendors, especially in the UCaaS category. Speaking of UCaaS (Unified Communications as a Service), communication/collaboration offerings such as VoIP systems, video conferencing as well as contact centre solutions aren’t isolated services anymore. They are now part of a greater suite of offerings, each of which are then integrated for the purpose of smoother workflows and concise data collection. Other services that don’t fall under telecommunications, such as CRM and ERP, are also included as part of a UCaaS offering.

So what does this tell us about the height of remote work environments today? That the potential for engaging in business operations no matter where you are located is one that stretches far beyond the typical video conferencing application. In turn, this has made shifting over to working remotely all the more viable, since operations can be executed and overseen for business units that otherwise required manual and/or on-site supervision. Therefore it’s not a surprise that even a pandemic of such a large-scale deterred little in terms of business continuity, giving companies the chance to salvage what was already lost, or to keep on with business as usual.

Data analytics that is intuitive and actionable

While faster, smoother and more efficient data analytics via the cloud isn’t necessarily breaking news, newer trends surrounding the subject very much are. Business intelligence also has long since been a topic of interest, but constant probing into its effectiveness especially on the part of organizations adopting the same has led to major developments in not just how advanced BI solutions have become, but also how intuitive they are capable of being. For example, self-service BI is a highly versatile tool for decision-makers (including those on a lower, associate level) to generate insights with zero intervention from IT departments. While this liberates decision makers as opposed to constantly depending on IT personnel to draft and deliver visualisations, it also speeds up reporting processes as steps are reduced and meanings are not lost in translation, in due process.

Integration again plays a key role here, as cloud-based BI solutions can be easily connected to existing systems in order to generate actionable insights, especially on a real-time basis. What takes today’s BI offerings to the next level is the fact that actions can also be automated, depending on data that is collected and analysed automatically by the system. Unlike being an enterprise software offering that was previously only reserved for larger corporations, BI solutions are now available for businesses of all sizes. On top of that, the high integration quotient of modern software services also creates ample space for an analytics component, ideally as BI – therefore providing those who utilize enterprise software the access to make the most of data analytics and real-time insights through intuitive BI solutions.

As everyone speaks of data, there has been little buzz around the topic of data integrity. In other words, where does your data come from? Are the sources reliable? Who works on your data, and what level of trust is maintained in such individuals? In an age when data can be sold and purchased without user consent, and with a constant stream of cyber compromises within enterprise cloud systems, the question of data integrity is an important one. The principle is simple here: no matter how sophisticated your BI solutions are, a lack of authentic, reliable data makes any analysis futile. Companies are therefore beginning to realise this, and thanks to the level of transparency prevalent in the cloud, data collection is now being steered towards a more trustworthy direction. What’s more, fierce competition between businesses is now prompting many to deliver precise insights – something that can only be made possible via genuine data.

Product development that is effective and timely

Long gone are the days when legacy software systems were developed with increased dependencies and long lines of code. Thanks to microservices and containerisation over the cloud, businesses are now able to manage the routine development and upgrades of their applications with little ease and cost, therefore making product rollouts that are not just fast, but also highly powerful int terms of quality. As virtualization allows containerised applications to be hosted across multiple locations, the added convenience of being able to scale up or down as needed makes the prospect of managing high volumes that applications may attract into a workable situation.

As an AWS partner, our experience on dealing with application development on the cloud reveals aspects that are mostly inclined towards customer-centricity, cost savings and most often, a combination of both. Again, it’s steady competition that drives steady planning towards creating a product that users will love. But unlike waiting for feedback after conducting a round of surveys, a constant stream of suggestions makes bite-sized improvements possible, thanks to the cloud. As a result, this enables business owners to turn a perceptive eye towards the market, and observe demands, trends and even loopholes which can be met via a highly iterative software development lifecycle that’s powered by and based in the cloud.

An organization hierarchy that is more collaborative than ever before

As a business owner or c-suite executive, it is your duty to lead by example. However, the cloud has diversified the manner in which companies carry out their daily functions, including product deliverables. Unlike before, IT personnel aren’t just confined to being part of a project when tech-related issues are involved. The same, but in an opposing context also applies to staff in other business units; whether it’s accounting, marketing or legal, every member on your team now requires the technological knowhow to contribute towards customer demands that will all be facilitated from the cloud. In a way, it’s safe to say that the collaborative quality of the cloud has also permeated into business teams, which signifies the fact that exponential changes are happening all the time to the manner in which we conduct our duties on a regular basis.

If you’re playing a leadership role, the cloud has now given you the leverage to indulge in a bird’s eye perspective of everything that is happening, as well as what can be safely foreseen with the likes of predictive analytics. This shall therefore enable you to call the shots in a way that keeps your brand one step ahead of your competitors’ – all the while knowing that they’re on the same page too.

In conclusion…

While cloud computing takes the world by storm, it also paves brand new pathways or influences current ones – such as shifts in management, and how business owners/leaders need to navigate. There’s much buzz in how to excel at leadership, but what do you do in the wake of technology that’s constantly evolving? With the cloud being an integral base for all things enterprise in this day and age, a constant shift in technological advancements in this field also subsequently persuades decision makers to change course in a manner that suits the wind, so to speak. With COVID-19 compelling even the most traditional of business functions to take refuge in the sanctuary of employees’ homes, this is one of the biggest influences of the cloud, in consideration to the current pandemic climate. In turn, this has made many business leaders discover an element of remote workmanship that otherwise wouldn’t have occurred, primarily pertaining to employee autonomy as well as a host of savings in terms of costs and equipment.

Next, data has always gone hand in hand with the cloud. But just how all that data is crunched to reveal insights that can provide a sense of direction to business leaders, is a question that is always up for discussion across multiple perspectives. BI, and more particularly self-service BI has been a trending concept in the realm of data analytics, as it provides team members complete freedom to customise reports without any IT intervention. What makes BI even more accessible to businesses of all shapes and sizes today is its ease of integration, oftentimes also being included as part of a unified software offering. But it is data integrity that separates the successful businesses from the rest, as making strategic effort to gather data in an ethical and reliable way is what will maximize the capabilities of today’s BI solutions. In other words, ensuring that only authentic data which is ethically sourced enters the system, in order to observe statistics that will also be equally reliable.

Another great development that has been made thanks to the cloud is app containerisation; as microservices-based applications dominate the market, this is a clear sign of effectiveness, in comparison to apps that have been developed with long lines of code, with every unit being dependent on one another. Virtualising workloads across multiple machines that are located in multiple regions ensures that any number of tasks can be processed at scale, thereby offering runtime that’s almost round-the-clock and completely reliable. Again, this ups the ante for many business leaders in the area of customer-centricity, as constantly improving applications in order to satisfy customers is now an essential, in order to stay abreast of the competition. But then again, the cloud streamlines it so much that repeatedly iterating an app that has been developed based on microservices architecture takes a fraction of the cost and effort.

Last but never the least, the established presence of the cloud in today’s business landscape has somewhat fluidified organizational hierarchies, as team members across varying business units collaborate to share knowledge from their field of expertise that revolves around the cloud. For example, while IT personnel become lynchpins of product strategy meetings (as opposed to just being involved in the event of a technical concern), industry experts need to expand their technology skills in order to resonate to the whims and fancies of cloud computing. What this presents for managers is a dynamic viewpoint, and one that can then aid decision-making that is far better in terms of strategy, tactics, accuracy and even foresight.

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