In recent blog posts, we looked at how companies are using cloud technologies to work in new and innovative ways. Today, we’ll talk about four key trends highlighted by leading cloud application providers that are transforming the way we work. At ConnectCentral 2017, executives from Box, Built.io, DocuSign, and Zenefits shared their insights in a panel discussion on the latest cloud app developments, and how they are core to the future of the digital workplace. Below is a summary of their discussion. You can view the entire presentation here.
1. Interoperability becomes a key requirement.
Today we are at a point where nearly every application that matters has an API, says Neha Sampat, CEO of Built.io. No longer are companies relying on a single cloud service but rather on many services coming together in unique ways. Having the ability to integrate two services today is no longer a matter of hiring a heavyweight developer and can be as simple as drag and drop. This simplicity of operation is opening up new opportunities for creating engaging, personalized, mobile, and sticky applications for users.
Paul Chapman, CIO of Box, adds that interoperability allows for many services to come together, freeing companies from technical debt as well as creating a freedom from infrastructure. Federating out a lot of the operational management that was once handled in house allows teams to work faster and be more agile as well.
2. Boundaries between applications will blur, delivering seamless experiences.
In some situations, the shift today may be most impactful when taking an analog experience and making it digital. The cloud allows for new experiences for office workers and customers, shares Ron Hirson, CPO of DocuSign. The ability to mash up great technologies with strong capabilities allows for amazing experiences that empower the end user. In one example Hirson shared, a document automatically created from a Salesforce opportunity is signed electronically before being stored in Box. Those are the kinds of experiences you can make happen with cloud applications, and where DocuSign sees the future heading as well.
Laks Srini, CTO of Zenefits, talked about a vision his company had for onboarding. How could you create a paperless onboarding process, from the offer letter to W4 forms and beyond—and have it be completed before a new hire’s first day? What if you could also create all the necessary accounts this way as well, from email to Box to communications? This is possible today and is changing the nature of how we work.
3. Microservices-driven architectures will lead to greater agility.
Neha Sampat believes a key benefit of interoperability is that companies are able to utilize microservices-driven architectures to create plug-and-play applications. This enables them to develop best-of-breed applications in a flexible and agile way.
The advantage customers receive in this type of environment is access to a highly interoperable, innovative ecosystem of best-of-breed services.
4. API-first will overtake mobile-first application strategy.
Ron Hirson believes we should be thinking API-first versus mobile-first. About a year and a half ago, his company prioritized API development. Now they see two-thirds of all documents that get signed generated via an API. And in doing so, they’re able to combine with other services to create compelling experiences.
Laks Srini believes that if the ecosystem can work and behave like a single system, then Zenefits has done its job well. It goes back to having the right APIs and making them work together. He recommends thinking about everything from an end-customer experience perspective, and if you’re dedicated to that, then you can’t ignore that you need best-of-breed systems working well together.
Want to learn more about multi-cloud trends that will play a critical role in the digital workplace of tomorrow? Watch the full ConnectCentral innovation here. For a complete recap of the ConnectCentral 2017 conference, view our digital magazine here.
Originally published Dec 18, 2017, updated Aug 11, 2020