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Cloud at heart workforce flexibility

Europe’s hyper-connected, increasingly mobile workforce has high expectations regarding the technology they should have access to at work and the impact it could have on their performance. 

The CloudReady Report – commissioned by leading workforce management company Kronos and conducted among workers at small and midsize businesses (SMBs) – found respondents to be cloud-savvy and widely aware of the benefits of cloud computing. Now it is up to SMBs to harness this enthusiasm to drive productivity, whilst maintaining the necessary organisational structure and control.

Cloud usage is pervasive

The CloudReady Report revealed extensive use of cloud applications amongst workers and a desire to integrate cloud into everyday activities and processes that underpin business productivity. Nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of workers believe cloud applications play an important role in supporting their day-to-day work. 83 percent report that, given the opportunity, they would prefer to use cloud applications over those deployed on-premise.

Eight in ten (79 percent) expect the trend of people using cloud applications for work purposes to increase over the next two years. On average, workers use six different cloud applications in any given month.

Workers demand flexibility

An increasingly mobile workforce sees flexible working practices such as remote working as vital to their role. Cloud is an enabler of this. Flexibility (91 percent) and real-time access (89 per cent) were cited as the two biggest benefits of cloud for workers – both of which enable them to work more effectively. Workforce flexibility (58 percent) is the number-one perceived benefit of cloud applications for workers.

Impact of the consumerisation of IT

Workers surveyed overwhelmingly stated that reliable technology is an essential factor in ensuring they are productive and satisfied in their work. Hyper-connected workers are demanding technology that supports their preferred way of working. This has become a pre-requisite and essential to doing their job – cloud applications need to support this.

Workers today expect their employer to provide the technology they need to do their jobs. This is seen as a fundamental requirement by them, whether this be reliable software (86 per cent) or reliable hardware (84 per cent) and, in a fragile economic climate, something they now expect more than a competitive salary (75 per cent) and other benefits from potential employers. Nearly half (49 per cent) of workers consider the quality of available technology and applications when considering one employer over another; this is more notable amongst those aged 18 to 24 (59 per cent) compared to those aged over 55 (36 per cent).

The time is right for cloud deployment

Many SMBs are already benefitting from cloud deployments. However, there has never been a better time for every SMB to embrace cloud technology and the opportunities to derive increasing business value from the cloud are clear. SMBs should consider cloud as part of their wider IT strategy and implement policies and procedures to control the use of cloud within the business. By doing this they will deliver the safe, secure, flexible working environment that workers desire and drive improved productivity. 

Organisations would benefit by reviewing policies about deployment of cloud solutions to ensure they are fully utilising the assets and solutions at their disposal.

Less than half of workers (45 per cent) report that their organisation has a definitive policy in place when it comes to controlling the use of cloud applications within their business.

In terms of who owns cloud: 21 per cent believe the board is driving cloud adoption; 34 per cent believe it is the IT department; 31 per cent believe it is the workers.  

Brenda Morris, general manager, UK, Kronos“Currently workers are freestyling with cloud apps and derive real value from the technology when speed, simplicity, and security are all addressed. It’s now essential that more SMBs look at how harnessing the cloud can not only transform productivity, but also deliver a platform for them to compete in an increasingly competitive environment. At Kronos, we experiencing a significant increase in customers deploying in the Kronos Cloud to achieve all of the benefits associated with cloud computing.”

The report surveyed the opinions of 1,000 knowledge workers across the UK, Netherlands, and Belgium. 1,000 knowledge-based office workers completed an online survey in March 2015. (500 in the UK, 400 in Netherlands, and 100 in Belgium.) Private and public sector organisations with between 50-500 workers were surveyed. Research was conducted by Loudhouse, an independent research agency based in London.

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