The meeting is the staple of corporate life. The whole day revolves around when a meeting will be, who will be there and what needs to be discussed. Yet, is this rote practice may have become counter-productive in today’s world of the always on, always connected workplace.
Google’s enterprise vision is to leverage mobility and the cloud to change the fundamental way people work. Workforce productivity used to be about how you can optimize individual output. Take all those individuals, put their output together and have a meeting to sort it all out. Google thinks that by putting all that functionality into a cloud environment, workers can use whatever device they want and always be working as a group towards on the mission. A faster, more secure, more cost efficient workplace will be the result.
“The main message is that to be an effective [enterprise], we need to change from individual productivity to group productivity,” said Matthew Glotzbach, director of product management for Google Enterprise at Google’s Innovation Nation, a one-day conference in Washington, D.C.
“I think you kind of see these trends in parallel feeding off each other where more and more powerful and secure applications are moving into the cloud and mobile devices are continuing to get more sophisticated to where now somebody like you or me spends more time in front of your phone or our tablet than we do in front of our traditional PC,” Glotzbach said.
Can The Cloud Recreate The Enterprise Architecture?
The idea is to fundamentally recreate the architecture and structure of the enterprise. This, of course, is not just a task that Google is working on. The enterprise is being recreated as propriety systems (for instance, GPS opening to people outside the military) are becoming ubiquitous in people’s pockets through smartphones and tablets and complex applications are made available to those devices through the cloud.
“The cloud model, the cloud architecture, is really a mobility enabler,” said Glotzbach. “If you had to try to make your phone connect up to a server that is sitting behind a private firewall in a corporate segregated network, that is actually still somewhat difficult and challenging to do. But these services are secure but they are sitting in the cloud so they are accessible to mobile devices.”
Google uses the examples of collaborative Google Docs, Gmail and Talk as tools that can change the enterprise. Cisco or Avaya might point to their next-generation IP-PBX systems improving presence and video talk and mobile device management. Microsoft would touts Windows Lync, 365 and Azure.
The idea of cloud and mobility in the enterprise are still in their earliest stages. If you consider a standard three-year technology refresh cycle for device and software, most corporations are or will be in the midst of their first round of mobile productivity tools (dating the mobility era, as many do, to the release of the first iPhone in July 2007). The mobile device world, smartphones and tablets, is moving quicker than that of the cloud in terms of pure specifications. HTC can release four to five new Android or Windows Phone devices before a cloud data center can be built and multi-tenet software capabilities are transferred for the enterprise.
Mobility: The Gateway To The Cloud
That means that the consumers will be the leaders in technology adoption in years to come because enterprise mobility can only move as fast as the cloud evolves. Former NASA CTO Chris Kemp told me in an interview that “tablets are the gateway to the cloud.” The cloud will hold siphons of data that employees can access and run through smartphones and tablet applications, also being run in the cloud. Employees can then collaborate in real-time with that data.
“I think we are in the early days of imagining what is possible,” Glotzbach said. “Obviously where we have all started is to take the things that we have been doing and make them better by moving them into the cloud. I think we are just starting to tap into this idea of team collaboration potential. It is still, for most people who are not using the latest Google technologies, it is still a little foreign to be seamlessly working with a group of people rather than working individually.