Google asks, what does the cloud worker mean for business? | Computing

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We are entering the age of the , argued Lyndon Fraser of Chrome Enterprise at a recent IT Leaders’ Summit – a statement that garnered little in the way of argument from the audience. Clearly, cloud adoption is already high.

That was not the case in 2012 when Fraser joined Google. “[When it came to moving to the cloud,] there were a lot of businesses that weren’t quite ready for that level of change,” he said.

Businesses might not have been ready, but workers were prepared to make the jump. ‘Knowledge workers’, those whose job it is to handle data, have existed for decades – Peter Drucker first used the term in his 1959 book The Landmarks of Tomorrow.

Through the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s, the role of these workers was mostly unchanged: they were tethered to a location and their main job was to analyse the information that they worked with. With the cloud, their work has transformed; they are free to move around, information is much more readily available and it is easier and faster to work with.

The transformation has taken root in our personal lives, too, with undisrupted access to well-designed, capable cloud apps like Uber, Spotify and Google Maps. “They’re just awesome to use…and you’re kind of excited to use them,” said Fraser. “What we’re beginning to see now is that expectation, that excitement about access to our applications…beginning to come into the enterprise environment.”

Workers want undisrupted access to their applications, wherever they are. A Forrester survey (Rethink Technology in the Age of the Cloud Worker: a Spotlight on the Employee) found that almost 80 per cent of knowledge workers voted ‘fixing issues without losing productivity’ as the most critical attribute in a work device.

Fraser said, “We just want to get on with our day-to-day jobs – we don’t want to be held back.”

That demand for constant access and freedom of movement is prompting a massive rise in SaaS applications: BetterCloud’s 2017 State of the Cloud Workplace report showed that more than half (51 per cent) of companies are already almost purely SaaS (80+ per cent of apps), and that figure will hit 73 per cent in 2020.

The ‘cloud worker’ has emerged as an evolution of the knowledge worker, said Fraser, due to the rising use of SaaS and adoption of the internet browser as ‘the new interface’ (94 per cent of people work this way while commuting or at home, according to Forrester).

Almost everything that the cloud worker does is through the browser; on average, they spend almost five hours working this way every day.

Is your following Google’s predictions? Do you still rely on traditional endpoints, or are you cloud-first? Let us know.

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