back to article The cloud and the incredible shrinking office

Those in the know say that cloud computing will fundamentally change the way we office creatures work. “I am slightly too young to remember the workplace before the arrival of the PC,” says Jacqui Thomas, director of Comms at the UK and Ireland chapter of the Cloud Security Alliance. “But cloud is the same kind of game changer …


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“HSBC recently said up to 40 per cent of its staff could be home based, and there’s a push in London to get people to work from home during the Olympics. "It will be interesting to see how that plays out"

Will that include some staff having ATMs "fitted" in the front of their house?

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Technology allowance...?

The car allowance analogy is kind of flawed. At the start of this century, the car allowance morphed into a cost-savings dodge. It was used as an alternative to pay-rises post-tech-crash-and-9/11.

In the office I worked in at the time, it didn't change anything for the people who didn't already have a company car -- they would use their own car whenever practical beforehand, and claim mileage against the project, and they continued to do so. When impractical, they'd get alternative transport and charge it against the project. But that was in a Scottish office of a London-based company. Down at HQ, it led to the situation where people who would normally have used public transport to get about were told they had to use their cars, and it took them longer to get to many places. It reduced choice, thus reducing the ability to be flexible to specific needs, and thus hampered operational efficiency.

My last employer tauted the idea of a laptop allowance a year before I left. The general feeling among the employees on the discussion boards was that it was a Bad Idea.

Having personal responsibility is all well and good, but if we're all buying individually, the company loses economies of scale, and compatibility testing becomes impossible for even the most important core business software. Does a lowly helpdesk operative have to buy a second PC out of his own pocket if the ticket-logging software crashes on his machine?

Secondly, the coverage of support. For a mobile workforce, there is really only one place you would be able to guarantee UK-wide coverage: PC World. So in order to have somewhere to go whenever your PC breaks down, you would be squeezed into buying from one of the UK's most expensive suppliers, and getting your support from a company who happens to have an notably poor reputation for quality of support.

Until computers are reliable, consistent and 100% commoditised, companies will continue to need to buy direct and in bulk.

And lets face it -- that's never going to happen


Re: Technology allowance...?

Surely the cloud based client is going to be Java or JavaScript based with web-browser fall back. The help-desk ticket system is going to be a bowser-client database like email or a forum, with chat to talk to the customer, that could be used from an internet cafe.

The company loses all that compliance testing and the IT department's hardware department shrinks, as hardware becomes the employee's responsibility. The employer might point the employees at a company to spend their allowance with to rent kit. Company accountants love leasing: small fixed cost, no (non cash) capital/assets to manage, make the employee into a leasing company.

There will be special needs people: program developers, graphic designers, etc.; but often they have better knowledge than the IT department who want one size fits all.


Linux needs a brand

The article shows that Linux needs a brand like Microsoft or Apple, it might have been Nokia before they fell on their own sword.

It is here already, you do not need to wait for Microsoft, Sun had been doing it for some time.

Google Docs is quite good for many tasks, until you go through a tunnel on the train, or Google change it. Google seems to be moving towards a version control system (perhaps with local short term copy), and this would seem a good idea, if they can crack merging back changes from several people in a user friendly way.

A hi-def touch screen like Nokia (and others) had before they copied Apple's lo-def touch sensor, could be almost as expressive as paper and pencil.

Anonymous Coward


"Offices will become smaller as companies no longer have to accommodate so many servers or people at a time".

Or maybe:

Offices will become smaller as companies find, from time to time, that they no longer have any data to accommodate.


To the Cloud? More like to the Hackers

Let's see. The US DoD had it's "secure" network hacked and thousands of top secret docs stolen. Anon & Co hack accounts and spread personal info about military personnel all over. Sony gets hacked and Playstation users are left naked. A couple Brit gov't agencies got reamed and their data is not part of "the cloud". And the supposed experts still want to put private and proprietary on the cloud for any script kiddie to steal? Yea. And let's line up all of the airplanes and ships in a row to guards them, just like they did at Pearl Harbor.


all fine and dandy but.....

Once upon a time a hacker required a PC to be on the get access to your files. Now they can bash away in the cloud since its available 24/7/365

Not everywhere has ADSL. No good for to country folk with poor connectivity

Who pays for exceeded bandwidth

So many things to think about, maybe its best to not go down that route

Anonymous Coward

Cloud-enabled working from home?

"“I am slightly too young to remember the workplace before the arrival of the PC,” says Jacqui Thomas, director of Comms at the UK and Ireland chapter of the Cloud Security Alliance."

Well, I do remember. And I'm old enough to remember the paperless office as well. Another undelivered promise.

As for cloud enabled working at home? We've had this for years and years *thinks* I think we enabled our work-from-home on company application servers about five years ago?? We have everything centralized anyway, pushing apps over the internet isn't such a big deal. Once you're travelling the TCP/IP stream, endpoints don't matter much (except for the security conscience).

It's all well and good to jump the bandwagon and proclaim the Cloud is the wave of the future, but we're talking about concepts and mechanisms that trace their roots back to the 60's. The only real change is consumer access to broadband.

But that doesn't change the fact that, as an example, the rivalry and irritations between the ICT department and the Technical Services vanished when we all where relocated to the same building and it was found easier and more convenient to discuss things in person rather than send emails to and fro. Technology is not the answer to everything.

And a piece of advice for you Cloud-enabled work-from-home lusting newbies ;-)

Asking a technician if he has time for coffee will easily take weeks if not months from the duration of a project.


That said and done, my boss is moving our network redesign, re-installation and maintenance to a third party and we are in early stages of moving our applications to the cloud. And although my job is in no way in danger, I'm compiling a list of things to do after the migration and as of yet it only says: 'replace broken monitors'

Perhaps then, I can finally find the time to clean keyboards, monitors and vacuum the piles of dust behind the desks... as everyone seems to assume this is an IT task, le sigh

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