|By Mark Duffin||
|April 20, 2013 12:45 PM EDT||
A new American workforce is emerging. A recent report from Accenture says the number of U.S. workers who are independent (such as freelancers, contractors or temps) is up 6 percent from 1989. Work as we know it is changing. Because of constant connectivity, companies across the globe no longer need their employees in the same building - or the same state - in order to do their jobs well.
The rise in smartphones and cloud-based platforms has made it easier for businesses to tap into contractor networks to expand their workforces. For many companies, using a contractor or temporary employee helps them manage busy seasons and scale when demand rises unexpectedly. For instance, an air conditioning company may need extra employees in the spring and early summer to do seasonal cleaning and updates. Or during hurricane season in Florida, a home improvement store may need extra technicians to install storm shutters.
Supplementing existing employees with a contractor network is a relatively new concept, made much easier with technology such as smartphones and tablets. According to an IPM survey, more than 66 percent of respondents indicated they would take a lower-paying job if it provided flexibility.
To accommodate for this rise in the new American workforce, companies are turning to the cloud to deliver solutions to better manage their contracted employees. Virtual dispatch and job-management tools allow companies to find and remotely manage contracted or independent technicians closest to a service call, increasing employee utilization and service efficiency.
The History of the Cloud and the New American Workforce
As this workforce grew (and continues to grow today), company executives were struggling to manage the number of service calls and dispatch the correct independent contractor quickly. With the cloud, companies saw a way to get affordable access to shared resources.
The cloud was first born when IT departments were unprepared for the need for speed. As company employees began to demand things faster than IT departments could deliver, service providers saw a business opportunity. By delivering hosted services - now known as the cloud - in the early 2000s, workforce management companies offered a solution to their customers, effectively reducing the overhead cost of hosting and maintaining hardware and software themselves.
When the economy fell hard in 2008 and 2009, companies needed solutions that helped reduce cost while maintaining or increasing productivity. For companies that still needed - or wanted to gain - functionality, lowering costs became increasingly difficult. Companies needed a self-supported machine to store and share product and customer information with their full-time and contract workers. They needed increased bandwidth for storage, and they needed it at an affordable price.
What the Cloud Offers to Independent Contractors
Using a cloud-based platform, companies can manage all of their operations securely from the web. While using independent technicians or contracted workers, companies can collect information on customers, inventory and lead generation while storing it securely in the cloud. This means an independent contractor can be in a different state than the companies' corporate office, yet can access a customer's history, parts needed and skills required before going on a service call.
With cloud computing, the power is in an individual's hands. By taking hardware to the cloud, managers can manage people instead of software. Companies that offer cloud hosting services do the heavy lifting for these busy business owners, and ensure that everything runs smoothly and can be found easily.
The cloud can also store information on these independent contractors, which makes it easier for companies to ensure this mobile workforce is prepared before they go out on a service call. For example, companies can search for a contractor who specializes in cable installation. They instantly have access to contractors who qualify and can see their location and availability. Later in the process, they can view whether the contractor accepted the job, view status updates on the service provided, and generate reports to analyze the entire service process.
The cloud offers a seamless, affordable, easy-to-use platform to manage this growing workforce. The Accenture study showed that the majority of executives surveyed described the extended workforce as highly valuable for their business. As companies increasingly see the value of this skilled group, they will need cloud solutions that are affordable and easy to use.
There's a lot of things we do to improve the performance of web and mobile applications. We use caching. We use compression. We offload security (SSL and TLS) to a proxy with greater compute capacity. We apply image optimization and minification to content. We do all that because performance is king. Failure to perform can be, for many businesses, equivalent to an outage with increased abandonment rates and angry customers taking to the Internet to express their extreme displeasure.
Jul. 29, 2016 03:45 PM EDT Reads: 1,670
Right off the bat, Newman advises that we should "think of microservices as a specific approach for SOA in the same way that XP or Scrum are specific approaches for Agile Software development". These analogies are very interesting because my expectation was that microservices is a pattern. So I might infer that microservices is a set of process techniques as opposed to an architectural approach. Yet in the book, Newman clearly includes some elements of concept model and architecture as well as p...
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Ovum, a leading technology analyst firm, has published an in-depth report, Ovum Decision Matrix: Selecting a DevOps Release Management Solution, 2016–17. The report focuses on the automation aspects of DevOps, Release Management and compares solutions from the leading vendors.
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Adding public cloud resources to an existing application can be a daunting process. The tools that you currently use to manage the software and hardware outside the cloud aren’t always the best tools to efficiently grow into the cloud. All of the major configuration management tools have cloud orchestration plugins that can be leveraged, but there are also cloud-native tools that can dramatically improve the efficiency of managing your application lifecycle. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, ...
Jul. 29, 2016 11:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,278
SYS-CON Events announced today that LeaseWeb USA, a cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) provider, will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. LeaseWeb is one of the world's largest hosting brands. The company helps customers define, develop and deploy IT infrastructure tailored to their exact business needs, by combining various kinds cloud solutions.
Jul. 29, 2016 11:15 AM EDT Reads: 1,344
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No matter how well-built your applications are, countless issues can cause performance problems, putting the platforms they are running on under scrutiny. If you've moved to Node.js to power your applications, you may be at risk of these issues calling your choice into question. How do you identify vulnerabilities and mitigate risk to take the focus off troubleshooting the technology and back where it belongs, on innovation? There is no doubt that Node.js is one of today's leading platforms of ...
Jul. 29, 2016 08:30 AM EDT Reads: 648
Let's just nip the conflation of these terms in the bud, shall we?
"MIcro" is big these days. Both microservices and microsegmentation are having and will continue to have an impact on data center architecture, but not necessarily for the same reasons. There's a growing trend in which folks - particularly those with a network background - conflate the two and use them to mean the same thing.
They are not.
One is about the application. The other, the network. T...
Jul. 29, 2016 04:45 AM EDT Reads: 3,718
DevOps at Cloud Expo – being held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA – announces that its Call for Papers is open. Born out of proven success in agile development, cloud computing, and process automation, DevOps is a macro trend you cannot afford to miss. From showcase success stories from early adopters and web-scale businesses, DevOps is expanding to organizations of all sizes, including the world's largest enterprises – and delivering real results. Am...
Jul. 29, 2016 04:45 AM EDT Reads: 2,372
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Jul. 29, 2016 01:30 AM EDT Reads: 2,352
In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 19th Cloud Expo, Yoseph Reuveni, Director of Software Engineering at Jet.com, will discuss Jet.com's journey into containerizing Microsoft-based technologies like C# and F# into Docker. He will talk about lessons learned and challenges faced, the Mono framework tryout and how they deployed everything into Azure cloud. Yoseph Reuveni is a technology leader with unique experience developing and running high throughput (over 1M tps) distributed systems with extre...
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This digest provides an overview of good resources that are well worth reading. We’ll be updating this page as new content becomes available, so I suggest you bookmark it. Also, expect more digests to come on different topics that make all of our IT-hearts go boom!
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Jul. 28, 2016 12:15 AM EDT Reads: 2,298