This is part three of a three-part series discussing the evolution of the cloud. The cloud is a continual and rapid evolution —by the time you have read this, the cloud has likely changed yet again. This is the last (I know, so sad) in our three part series discussing the evolution of the cloud. With the past and present mastered, let’s take a look at the future of the cloud.
Though I’m no prophet, and technology moves and changes rapidly, what I do know is current trends and historical facts. I believe the cloud will continue to expand, enable and liberate, while at the same time struggle to deal with the “Yoggi Berra” issue of complicating our simplification of cloud usage.
Why I Can’t Fix My Own Car
Ideally, the cloud of the future will provide more options, more competition, lower prices and more ways to simplify our business and personal lives. Everything will be connected and have an app to remotely manage and control it. You can simply use your mobile device to run your business and home.
However, with these advances come more complexity to manage and new frustrations when things go wrong. Think of a car from the 1960s — the windows were manual, the seats were not powered, the radio had push buttons to change stations, and that was WITH all the modern advancements and options. It may not have been fancy, but it also wasn’t complicated. Take a car today where there are literally several computers built into the vehicle to help operate and manage the power this and automatic that. That is very nice and convenient until something goes wrong. The technology is now so complicated and advanced it requires a master certified technician just to diagnose any problems.
As we use more of the cloud there are more browsers, windows, applications and “stuff.” Today there is no single dashboard to consolidate all of our cloud widgets. In the future there will be a single pane of glass to manage it all. There will have to be or we will go insane with overstimulation.
Going back to the generational gap well one last time, we can see the future of the cloud through the eyes of Baby Boomers, Gen Xers and Millennials.
To refresh your memory:
Baby Boomer – Those born between 1947 and 1963
Gen X – Those born between 1964 and 1984
Gen Y (Millennials) – Those born between 1985 and 2005
In 10 years…
Baby Boomers – With a majority retired, they will use the cloud where it is easiest to use and automatic, requiring no extra time to learn and manage. There is little incentive to address the technology learning curve, so it needs to just work.
Gen X – They will be running and leading the majority of businesses. As leaders, they will need to evolve from hesitant adoption of the cloud to educated, full embracement of the cloud. At the same time, they will need to adjust their own processes, practices and attitudes related to their Gen Y staff and position themselves to make and accept the changes (even in their stalwart attitudes) required to welcome in this new generation of leadership.
Gen Y – They will be starting to move into the leadership positions in major companies and starting new businesses. As leaders who literally grew up with the cloud, they will mandate wider cloud adoption in their businesses as simply the new norm. They will disrupt the business in new and creative ways to get the most of the cloud.
Gen Y (Millennials) will become the majority of the workforce in ten years. The recruiting and retention of this generation will be very different than that of older generations. It will be imperative that companies understand these intricacies if they are to grow and prosper. Cloud solutions will be embedded in how they live their lives both professionally and personally. It will be up to the Gen X and Baby Boomers to make adjustments, not Gen Y.
Good Customer Service Wins the Race
From a cloud perspective, this gradual shift in adoption, especially for SMBs, will put more emphasis on customer service. IT providers that have a deep understanding of all the complexities AND provide consistent, excellent service will be invaluable for businesses. These customer-service-oriented providers will be critical for each business to procure the right solution at the right time for their specific business needs. These providers will help businesses wade through the hundreds of options and provide enough education to select the solution that is aligned to the business goals.
As many of the unique cloud solutions of today become commodities, it will be the service side that needs to shine. If you have ever tried to call Microsoft, for example, to get help for your specific business issue/need, you already know what I am talking about.
Businesses will have a collection of technology providers, but will need to rely on a trusted relationship with an IT services partner to help them all along the way. There will still be computers, laptops, tablets, smartphones, software upgrades and issues that all require consistent and reliable support from a holistic approach. It is unlikely that the individual solution providers will be in any position to provide this type of service. IT services companies will need to be nimble and fluid to shift their delivery processes to help make sense of it all on behalf of their business clients and act as a partner to ensure they get the maximum value from all their cloud solutions. Fluid is already positioning itself to do just that.