Traditional enterprise computing involves one-to-one communication, on-premises software and PCs tied to desks. The current wave of social, mobile and cloud technologies has exposed users to a new way of working and has even spawned a buzzword that combines the terms: SoMoClo.
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SoMoClo refers to a more distributed way of computing than most businesses are used to. Information is stored in more places, accessed from more endpoints and shared with more people, all in an effort to increase productivity and efficiency.
This trend represents a shift away from the client/server model, in which workers relied solely on their employers to provide them with the technology required to do their jobs. IT departments preinstalled software on computers, gave new ones to employees every three years and managed them with Group Policy and Active Directory. On the back end, servers in corporate data centers ran all of the company’s applications and stored all of its data.
More and more, however, employees are adopting technology from other sources and adapting it for business use. They buy their own smartphones and configure them to access corporate systems. They sign up for cloud services such as Dropbox so they can sync work documents to their home computers. They communicate with large groups of people in real time via Facebook and Twitter, which makes them question their dependence on email.
Furthermore, these social, mobile and cloud technologies do not exist independently of one another. Mobile apps tie in to cloud services. The cloud hosts social networks. These platforms have their own mobile apps. And for the most part, these relationships all exist outside the corporate data center—and out of IT’s control.
In response, IT infrastructure is starting to move in the SoMoClo direction, but it is a long road with many bumps and potholes. Cloud computing -- be it public, private or hybrid -- is the backbone of this transformation. Enterprise adoption of cloud services, however, is below 50%, according to TechTarget’s latest Cloud Pulse survey. And of those IT shops that have yet to adopt cloud, a whopping 85% don’t plan to do so for at least another year.
Mobile and social technologies face an even steeper uphill climb. Despite all the hype around the bring your own device trend, in many organizations, "We’re mobile" means nothing more than "Our employees can check email on their iPhones." To truly embrace mobility, IT professionals will need to find ways to manage publicly available apps, deliver legacy apps to new form factors and develop new apps altogether. These efforts will take significant time and money to get off the ground.
Despite these challenges, make no mistake about it: SoMoClo technologies are coming to the enterprise. Employees have found their own ways to increase productivity, and that’s something IT can’t afford to ignore.
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