Since August, clouds have started to deliver the first winter snows to Colorado’s mountainous high country. Even in summer, it's not unusual to see fresh snow dusting the Rocky Mountains. Autumn officially began on September 22, but already, some rural mountain towns are recording night time temperatures below freezing.
The pre-season snowfall generates excitement among skiers, boarders, and other outdoor recreationists. For them, the first snow reports bring optimism, hope, and awe. Others, less enamored of wintertime activities, express annoyance and even anger at the snow and the cold.
The situation is analogous to the arrival of cloud applications at any organization. Some employees envision better, more modern software, mobile platforms, embedded reporting, extensive analytics, rapid deployments and regular updates (no upgrades!), all built on modern best practices.
Hardware: gone. Modern user experiences: check. Upgrades: history. Mobile platforms: absolutely. Embedded analytics and reports: of course. Lower costs: yes. Reduced cap-ex: check again. Best practices: free bonus.
It's easy to understand why so many get excited.
But there are some who resist, and that is equally understandable. Change can be hard, especially when current systems have been in place for a decade or more. It can spawn fear, uncertainty and doubt (the infamous FUD acronym).
Other concerns involve serious career questions: Will my job disappear? Do I have to be retrained? Will my colleagues be scattered to new departments? What new skills are needed? Will a machine replace my efforts?
These are serious matters that are often overlooked when organizations begin their cloud journey; they shouldn’t be ignored or downplayed. In fact, these concerns offer a great opportunity for companies to transform and enhance their workforce.
Among the often-overlooked benefits that the cloud delivers are the career opportunities it can open up, as work tasks move from tactical to strategic efforts.
One example: a business analyst working with finance data from an on-premises ERP system often exports data into one or more spreadsheets, converts and normalizes that data, then spends countless hours constructing and proofing multiple workbooks. While this task is in progress, the exported data is continually aging. The time available for thorough analysis shrinks as spreadsheet engineering consumes the delta between assignment and presentation deadline.
With cloud solutions, the data is always current and assessed in real time, with tools for analysis embedded in the software. Data is not exported and normalized. It can be manipulated, sliced, diced and served up in a familiar spreadsheet environment without ever leaving the source system—no complex spreadsheets to build, proof, and repair. The business analyst spends their time analyzing the business, not spreadsheets.
In the same way that the first new snowfall builds a base for upcoming winter sports, the digital cloud delivers the foundation for new and next-generation technologies. Your company can explore and embrace the internet of things (IoT), blockchain, chatbots, adaptive intelligence, machine learning, augmented (virtual) reality, and touchless (robotic) automations.
The first versions of these new building blocks for business are arriving today. Many compare these new technologies to where the internet was in the mid-1990s. With these technologies, the cloud now plays dual two roles: delivering modern business applications, and serving as the foundation for next-generation innovations.
There is nothing to fear. By embracing the opportunities that the digital cloud delivers today, your career is quickly aligned to the job market of tomorrow. It is a classic win-win situation: both you and your company benefit from moving legacy on-premises systems to the cloud.
Deep and plentiful snow from precipitous clouds will soon cover the Rocky Mountains as the first ski resorts open in October. At the same time, digital cloud solutions are likely on your horizon. The embrace of digital technology delivers the economic future for your employer, your colleagues and yourself.