melinda
Melinda Stoker
March 13, 2017

Leading Technologists Weigh in on the Future of the Unified Workforce

google next panel

As people grow accustomed to using simple, easy apps in their personal lives, they are demanding intuitive apps to use at work as well. More than 3 million businesses now pay to use G Suite; and Google CEO, Sundar Pichai, attributes this success to Google’s ability to provide a highly secure platform and robust partner ecosystem.

RingCentral hosted a VIP panel with some of Google’s most prominent partners during Google Cloud Next last week. Long-time Wall Street Journal writer Don Clark moderated a compelling conversation with representatives from Google, Box, Okta, and RingCentral to explore how businesses are overcoming challenges to support today’s disparate, always-connected workforce. Core themes throughout the discussion were around trends enabling workforces to get more work done, securely, from anywhere and on any device.

Mobility is one of the biggest drivers that impacts workforces and their IT departments. Many businesses are outfitting their executives and sales teams with iPads, and knowledge workers conduct work on their personal phones. People are placing calls from their PCs and using headsets, not desk phones, so they can talk while they are sitting on couches, walking on treadmills, etc.

The success of modern workers—and the cloud companies that support them—relies on achieving a seamless user experience that provides the tool sets people need to work the way they want, where they want.

Panelist Jamie Perlman from Box explained: “If cloud solution companies don’t provide a great mobile experience, people won’t use the solution.” Consequently, if IT departments don’t provide cloud solutions that people want to use, workers will find their own applications, which jeopardizes security and also siloes work groups and teams.

The way to keep Shadow IT under control is to provide all core apps on day one so workers will be less likely to wander off and find their own apps. IT departments are now able to standardize cloud solutions that are easy to deploy, use, and manage. IT has full visibility and control to maintain their organizations’ communications, document storage, application access, and data compliance.

Marty Piombo of RingCentral pointed out that regardless of what apps people are using, whether they are communications and collaboration tools or document management or productivity tools, workers should not have to think about the technology.

When it comes to key priorities for improvements or user adoption, the panelists suggested that businesses must make cultural shifts to fully transition to new cloud solutions. And frequently these shifts are CEO or people-operations initiatives, not IT initiatives.

Adam Massey of Google explained, “Certain apps stay on the desktop longer because it’s expensive to change the factor. But essential applications must be mobile to untether workers that might be desk-less. So IT must make decisions on which mobile solutions are essential to their organizations’ success.”

In addition, IT departments don’t want to purchase all the devices workers want to use, so they enjoy having security and control over enterprise apps on individually owned devices. They also realize the cost benefits of consolidating applications and investing on those that do not require a lot of IT resources to deploy and manage.

Piombo emphasized that “If you can’t launch, add, delete, manage your phone system off your phone, then it’s too difficult. IT departments need to be nimble enough to add 10, 20 locations instantaneously off a mobile device in a day if they have to. If you were using an on-prem solution, it would take weeks.”

Regarding what’s next, the panelists anticipate seeing intelligence baked into cloud applications to eliminate tedious work and redundancy. Workflows can be further streamlined by incorporating automation, artificial intelligence, and machine learning into cloud solutions. But for the moment, we continue to listen to customers to deliver on their top priorities, and our priorities will change and shift with theirs.

The shared mission of all four cloud partners is to deliver an engagement model that is seamless and user-friendly, so any user can have secure, easy access to applications, documents, and productivity suites with a unified, streamlined experience.

And the upshot is that when cloud leaders work together to enhance usability and efficiency, everyone wins.