About two years ago N. Jayanta, Chief Technology Officer, Essar Group, found himself in a fix. Apple had just launched the iPhone in India, and many of Essar's senior employees who had bought the device, now wanted office data access on it. So, a year ago, Jayanta's team started implementing a "bring-your-own-device" policy, meaning employees could use devices of their choice even for office purposes.
Jayanta and his team were able to provide this only because of cloud computing. Simply put, this consists of delivering computing resources over the Internet. Instead of installing programmes on the desktop or laptop, a user accesses them whenever he needs them. All he needs is an Internet connection.
A lot of people have stopped carrying their laptops and are only carrying their smartphones and tablets"
Chief Technology Officer
This is rapidly changing the way people work. "A lot of people have stopped carrying their laptops," says Jayanta. "They only carry their smartphones and tablets." Many companies are also moving applications such as those relating to sales and human resources to the cloud, as it enables employees to connect to the database from anywhere and is more easily scalable.
Microsoft's new Windows 8 allows users to carry their operating system in a 16 GB pen drive, and replicate their desktops on any device they plug in and log on to. Once connected to the web, the device automatically backs up everything on the Microsoft cloud. "We will have a lot of connected devices, which will be powered by a lot of cloud services," says Sukhwinder Ahuja, head of Microsoft's Office operations in India. "People should be able to do what they want to irrespective of the devices they are using."
Increasing competitiveness is forcing companies to be more productive, and the cloud offers a means of increasing the efficiency of employees. It can be accessed through any device from anywhere any point of time. In future, it is entirely likely that many offices will no longer have desktops or laptops on each desk. Instead, people may be walking around with that sleek 10-inch slate in their hands.Sunny Sen