About going into the cloud, a lot of people just hear jargon and words. In many ways jargon is meant to exclude people from what some feel should be knowledge protected from outsiders. However, jargon is in the end only words, and by breaking down the jargon the subject becomes understandable. So when people talk about cloud computing, there’s no reason to be intimidated. Just break down the jargon and get to the heart of the subject.
Cloud computing is not that difficult to understand. Essentially, instead of having software or storage on your own device – such as your tablet or desktop – you use your tablet or desktop to access software, services, and storage on a network of servers. For instance, hosting a video meeting using a service such as a Webex, Avaya or BlueJeans versus using an older model system. With the older model system, there may be fixed capacity, port allocation problems, issues with multipoint control units, and the inability to integrate with devices from telephones on the PSTN or mobile devices. Cloud Computing with a provider such as the BlueJeans Network for example, means interoperability in the sense that the interfaces are completely understandable, able to work with all systems, and to exchange information without restriction or additional implementations.
In other words, you don’t need to have a section of the IT department dedicated to operating videoconferencing server or equipment. People are able to initiate contact on their own with minimal learning curve. Meetings are easy to call, attend, and participants do not need any special knowledge in order to intuitively interact in the meeting environment. Nor do they need to initiate use of any other apps in order to exchange content, or communicate with other participants. There is no special equipment needed so that even people who are in the field, or on sites clear across the world, or those with bandwidth restrictions can all actively participate, instead of passively observing. Using video meetings to empower staff to communicate and collaborate not only internally but with clients and suppliers opens up channels of communications that have been left latent and unused.
Get Up, Stand Up!
The potential of using new ways to communicate should excite workers who might be somewhat disengaged and even alienated from their current situations. A recent Gallup poll pegged in excess of 80 percent of workers worldwide exhibiting at least some disengagement in the workplace. Those who most uniformly reported feeling disengaged and stressed, were those between 30 and 64 years of age, and highly educated. Meaning that the most experienced and educated members of your staff might be showing up, but they’re not all there. While an outmoded and toxic management style from the 1980s could be to blame, so restrictions from implemented useful technologies can also play a role.
People have a tendency to protect their territory. This can also be a highly toxic part of institutional culture. While no workplace is free from politics, one of the larger problems with a micromanaged culture is the stifling of innovation and creativity. The people who have the most to offer are actively prevented from doing so simply because it is not “by the book.” This is unfortunate as businesses that cannot adapt to changing climates tend to very simply die off. Much like the cable company’s refusal to offer à la carte channels has driven people to services such as Netflix and Hulu – there’s that cloud again – customers and clients are also looking for flexibility and adaptability as they to seek to survive in economic and market changes. Instead of stifling employees and sending them back to their desks, managers who want to survive to be telling them to get up, stand up, and participate.
Meetings Are a Good Thing
Would you be surprised to know that in excess of 90 percent of busy professionals value meetings? Verizon business conducted an extensive study of meeting culture and participants.
People love meetings (Come again?). What they don’t love is the disruption to their workflow, to their family life, and the travel that comes with it. Streamlining your ability to conduct meetings by using videoconferencing also gives people the face time they need in order to feel connected, according to a Gigaom white paper. While those things might seem to be in conflict, actually they’re not. In a good meeting, information is exchanged that everyone can use. So by extending the concept of interoperability to your staff, meetings need to be events where people come out with more than they came in with.
Small changes to culture can have huge differences. And by valuing the soft costs along with bottom line, reconnecting with your workers wherever they are can push back against the sense of alienation that many workers feel. When Monday rolls around, you want them fully present and on-the-job, engaged and 100 percent there.
Re-post from www.cloudtweaks.com By Glenn Blake