Cloud is key to enabling the liberation of employees to work flexibly and be more creative with technology, according to Microsoft's UK general manager, Clare Barclay.
Speaking at an event hosted by cloud firm Cobweb and attended by V3, Barclay said the cloud offers widespread benefits, such as enabling people to run entire businesses from smartphones.
"Cloud is liberating people. I run a pretty big business for Microsoft and all of that business I'm able to run from my mobile phone," she said.
Barclay noted that the flipside is that businesses that fail to adopt cloud and other mobility technologies could struggle to attract talent.
She cited a discussion with an engineering company as an example, where the firm had invested heavily in a graduate programme only to see people leave owing to frustration with the technology.
"It's not just about tech for tech's sake, it's really about how you are going to inspire the next generation of people you're going to have in your organisation," she added.
Barclay went on to explain how businesses need to address "how they are going to empower their staff" to work more effectively through technology use, with cloud a key part of this.
This view was echoed by Andy Cotgreave, a technology evangelist at Tableau Software: "As data moves into the cloud, as technological interfaces melt out of the way, suddenly it enables us to do huge amounts of things," he said at the event.
Cotgreave cited the example of being able to draw and redraw ideas in computer-aided design (CAD) programmes based in the cloud as an example of how teams can work more effectively.
Paul Hannam, founder of cloud firm Cobweb, said cloud-powered technology can be used by businesses to automate repetitious tasks and free up workers' time.
"Businesses are not monoliths, they are made up of individual human beings doing a variety of jobs," he said.
"Once you break down that business into components, and work out what each of the individuals in those components do, you can then [ask], 'can I apply IT to help liberate the individuals from doing the mundane drudgery things that can be done outside'.
"Then you can enable those individuals to get on with the things they find liberating, fulfilling and exciting."
He added that cloud also assists small businesses as well as workers in large enterprises: "It's enabling smaller business to access the kind of applications and services that only big enterprises can afford to do, like data mining, as apps get more complex they will need cloud."
With cloud technology and services maturing, adoption among enterprises is growing. AstraZeneca has embraced Box cloud services to enable 51,000 workers to work better together across 100 countries.
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