Companies have started porting data archive, backup and recovery and other office functions to the cloud and are oily taking their first very tentative steps in what is likely to prove to be a complete makeover of the data environment as it is know today. Even now, a lot of IT shops are looking past the mere storage applications in the cloud and are starting to look into full-blown collaboration through some popular tools like file sharing or other broader social collaboration platforms that are populating the cloud.
But, before we get too far ahead of ourselves, it might help you if we answer an even more important question: Why and what does collaboration do for companies?
Key Factors of Cloud Collaboration
A key factor to understand about collaboration is the need to maintain and enhance business productivity over a growing distributed workforce. Realize that, the more spread out the end points are, the harder it becomes to work in teams and then yesterday’s collaborations tools, like email, are slow and tend to generate multiple copies of common data that will clog storage systems and cause platforms to work overtime. So, centralized collaboration platforms will help alleviate the problems and the best way to make stakeholders have more equal access to both applications and data is by hosting them both in the cloud.
Collaboration is not just simple accessing of shared data files. But, it also incorporates video messaging and voice messaging, audio and web conferencing plus advanced on-line meeting capabilities. There really is an element of business continuity in new collaborative environments, given the fact that most top platforms will offer built-in redundancy that allows companies to maintain some connectivity even if there is serious disruption of important data infrastructure.
Cloud Collaboration Capabilities
Unfortunately, a primary inhibiting factor that is preventing companies from taking more advantage of the cloud’s collaborative capabilities is the enterprise itself. Policies that restrict cloud usage prevent workers from accessing the tools that they need to maintain a competitive edge in a fast paced data environment.
For an effective collaborative environment, the enterprises will have to adopt new technology and a new mindset. Instead of ensuring the flow of information that follows standard point-to-point guidelines, the IT’s role will likely shift toward that of an environment enabler, making sure there is access, data stores, tool sets and are available across multiple platforms.
Supporting a collaboration environment is one way IT will transform itself from a simple gatekeeper to an essential driver of business profitability and productivity. The next vital step is to establish some centralized control of the environment to make sure it has proper scale to profitability.
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