Musings on "Employee on Cloud"

With the advent of software on the cloud will there be a new paradigm, employees on the cloud? The concept of work from anywhere is already here but still has not gained popular ground. There are many factors that still require employees to be on-premise; the following are some of the key factors.

  1. Data security: You still have Offshore Data Centers (ODCs) built for clients and networks that are an extension of the parent client network. For accessing the client's data you need to go on-premise. How do you ensure your employees on the cloud do not leak sensitive and confidential data? Will just trust in one's good sense be sufficient? Or can the on-premise data security be extended to the cloud-based infrastructure? There is a need to build appropriate security solutions such as multi-factor authentication, encryption, tokenization or other cryptography tools to protect data in the cloud.

  2. Management of employees and their performance evaluations is easy when you see someone face to face. Bosses assume employees who work remotely are not really working. This is because of the feel of loss of control. Bosses lose direct oversight and cannot witness productivity directly. You will need new governance models and performance evaluations models for employees on the cloud. The key criteria for the employee would be trust-worthiness, the ability to work without supervision, a person with good time management skills and extremely good communication skills.

  3. Team Work: It is a notion that employees need to work in a team at the same location for making a project successful. There is an onshore-offshore model where status calls and other important client communication happens but still the onsite location in one single location and offshore is another single location. Now the technology and collaboration makes it possible for teams-on-the-cloud to work together across time zones and locations, communicating with partners internally and externally and hence a single location is no more of a criterion for successful completion of the project.

The key benefits to enterprises with Employees on the Cloud are:

  1. Reduced operating costs: The operating costs of the organization will be reduced significantly with a reduction per square foot of space required for employees on-premise.

  2. Increased efficiency: ODCs can be replaced by On-Demand (OD) computing. On-Demand computing is an increasingly popular enterprise model in which the computing resources are made available to the enterprise as required. The resources may be maintained within the enterprise or made available by a service provider. In case of a small and medium IT service provider, imagine how much more attention will be given to the core business if the SME was not dealing with the complexities and vulnerabilities of networks, servers and applications. This is provided that the IT and business processes supplied to the SME by a utility provider actually lowers costs and increases efficiency.

  3. A survey summarized in the Microsoft whitepaper, Work without Walls, indicates the top 10 benefits of working from home from the employee's viewpoint.

    a. Work/home balance (60%)
    b. Save gas (55%)
    c. Avoid traffic (47%)
    d. More productive (45%)
    e. Less distractions (44%)
    f. Eliminate long commute (44%)
    g. Quieter atmosphere (43%)
    h. Less stressful environment (38%)
    i. More time with family (29%)
    j. Environmentally friendly (23%)
I feel the same is applicable for employees in the cloud.