Cloud, Collaboration, and Today's Workforce
By Vahé Torossian as written on enterprise.microsoft.com
Businesses are looking to digitally transform their companies. IDC predicts that by the end of 2017, two-thirds of Global 2000 companies will have digital transformation at the center of their corporate strategy. No matter the industry, businesses of all sizes are prioritizing having modern infrastructure, easy-to-use tools and programs for their workers, best-in-class devices and making things easy for their customers. A truly digital businesses share a common trait: they collaborate differently.
In my perspective, there are two main ways that the nature of collaboration has changed:
Sharing access – The era of email attachments is coming to a close. In the cloud era, instead of passing a document back and forth, documents are co-authored – edits are made live and in real-time.
Crossing distances – The cloud allows team members to collaborate and communicate from anywhere. So the “office” of a contemporary company is wherever its workers happen to be at the moment.
For those of us who have been in the workforce awhile, these advancements are phenomenal, because the paradigm used to be so different. But those newer in the workforce have difference expectations.
To them, sharing access and crossing vast distances don’t really feel like advancements. Having grown up alongside these technologies, collaboration is just a part of work. In fact, that is the only conceivable way to work. Any business seeking to transform to be more cloud-ready and digital has to take this into account to bring in the best new talent to their teams.
Everyone knows that technologies like social media have completely changed the dynamics of corporate recruitment and hiring. But technology has also become a consideration for workers as they weigh their job options.
Modern workers spend the majority of their day interfacing with technology, so antiquated tools can be detrimental to their job satisfaction. In fact, a recent survey we conducted, showed that millennials in the workforce demand adequate technology to do their jobs. More than 90 percent of respondents said the latest technology was important in choosing an employer.
To appeal to these workers, business leaders have to recognize how they prefer to get their work done.
Shared access — How are files shared and edited at your company? Do you ever lose track of where something is or which team member “owns” it? These are hindrances that today’s workers will find it hard to tolerate. And collaborating via the cloud all but makes them obsolete.
Crossing distances — How do you organize your teams? Based on where people are located, or on who has the right skills and experience for a project? The best employee for the task may not be right down the hall from you. And the best new hire for your company may not be in the same city as you.
One great example of this modern way of working is an SMB out of the U.K., Bounce Foods. The company is the creator of Bounce Energy Balls, a healthy choice for people snacking on-the-go. Bounce Foods, like many high-growth companies, was faced with effectively managing a growing customer base, while rolling out new products and working to expand into new stores. Making the right technology decisions was a key to their success and ability to scale.
In order to keep up with their accelerated growth, Bounce Foods needed to choose tools to better collaborate internally and engage with customers externally and also keep track of processes, resources and information. As their business became more complex they decided to move to Microsoft Dynamics NAV, Microsoft Azure, Dynamics CRM and Office 365 with Power BI. These solutions helped them to scale their business.
Now, they are able to quickly respond to demand and instantly collaborate on what needs to get done. Their employees are more efficient and are able to deliver better customer service, retailer’s questions are quickly answered by the right people in the company, they can appropriately manage their stock and the overall company is better informed and better connected. Bounce Foods has scaled from 200,000 Bounce Balls per month to 600,000 in just two years. And today their product is sold in major supermarkets, gyms and retail stores.
It’s this level of technology and collaboration capabilities that employees now expect from their employers. The flexibility of the cloud is massively appealing for fast-growing companies. The functionality that it provides can in turn help ensure that companies are appealing to the right type of employee.
Every business and every business leader has to prioritize not only the needs to digitize their company but also how to enable the collaboration that workers today expect.
Using the cloud to expand your concept of collaboration doesn’t just introduce new efficiencies for your organization, it can help make your company more attractive to the best and brightest in today’s workforce.