Click here to close now.


Microservices Expo Authors: Victoria Livschitz, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Pete Waterhouse, Elizabeth White

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Mobile IoT, Agile Computing, Cloud Security, @BigDataExpo, SDN Journal

@CloudExpo: Article

The Cloud Delivers a New American Workforce

Companies are turning to the cloud to deliver solutions to better manage their contracted employees

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.

More Stories By Mark Duffin

Mark Duffin is CEO and president of ServicePower. He joined ServicePower in November 2007 and is responsible for strategic direction, sales, operations, and development, together with finance, personnel, properties and MIS facilities. He is a qualified Chartered Engineer in both Mechanical and Manufacturing Control Systems with an MBA from Reading University.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.

@MicroservicesExpo Stories
“All our customers are looking at the cloud ecosystem as an important part of their overall product strategy. Some see it evolve as a multi-cloud / hybrid cloud strategy, while others are embracing all forms of cloud offerings like PaaS, IaaS and SaaS in their solutions,” noted Suhas Joshi, Vice President – Technology, at Harbinger Group, in this exclusive Q&A with Cloud Expo Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff.
Docker is hot. However, as Docker container use spreads into more mature production pipelines, there can be issues about control of Docker images to ensure they are production-ready. Is a promotion-based model appropriate to control and track the flow of Docker images from development to production? In his session at DevOps Summit, Fred Simon, Co-founder and Chief Architect of JFrog, will demonstrate how to implement a promotion model for Docker images using a binary repository, and then show h...
Clearly the way forward is to move to cloud be it bare metal, VMs or containers. One aspect of the current public clouds that is slowing this cloud migration is cloud lock-in. Every cloud vendor is trying to make it very difficult to move out once a customer has chosen their cloud. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Naveen Nimmu, CEO of Clouber, Inc., will advocate that making the inter-cloud migration as simple as changing airlines would help the entire industry to quickly adopt the cloud wit...
Culture is the most important ingredient of DevOps. The challenge for most organizations is defining and communicating a vision of beneficial DevOps culture for their organizations, and then facilitating the changes needed to achieve that. Often this comes down to an ability to provide true leadership. As a CIO, are your direct reports IT managers or are they IT leaders? The hard truth is that many IT managers have risen through the ranks based on their technical skills, not their leadership ab...
Jack Welch, the former CEO of GE once said - “If the rate of change on the outside is happening faster than the rate of change on the inside, the end is in sight.” This rings truer than ever – especially because business success is inextricably associated with those organizations who’ve got really good at delivering high-quality software innovations – innovations that disrupt existing markets and carve out new ones. Like the businesses they’ve helped digitally transform, DevOps teams and Conti...
DevOps Summit at Cloud Expo 2014 Silicon Valley was a terrific event for us. The Qubell booth was crowded on all three days. We ran demos every 30 minutes with folks lining up to get a seat and usually standing around. It was great to meet and talk to over 500 people! My keynote was well received and so was Stan's joint presentation with RingCentral on Devops for BigData. I also participated in two Power Panels – ‘Women in Technology’ and ‘Why DevOps Is Even More Important than You Think,’ both ...
This week, the team assembled in NYC for @Cloud Expo 2015 and @ThingsExpo 2015. For the past four years, this has been a must-attend event for MetraTech. We were happy to once again join industry visionaries, colleagues, customers and even competitors to share and explore the ways in which the Internet of Things (IoT) will impact our industry. Over the course of the show, we discussed the types of challenges we will collectively need to solve to capitalize on the opportunity IoT presents.
Apps and devices shouldn't stop working when there's limited or no network connectivity. Learn how to bring data stored in a cloud database to the edge of the network (and back again) whenever an Internet connection is available. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Bradley Holt, Developer Advocate at IBM Cloud Data Services, will demonstrate techniques for replicating cloud databases with devices in order to build offline-first mobile or Internet of Things (IoT) apps that can provide a better, ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Alert Logic, the leading provider of Security-as-a-Service solutions for the cloud, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 17th International Cloud Expo® and DevOps Summit 2015 Silicon Valley, which will take place November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Alert Logic provides Security-as-a-Service for on-premises, cloud, and hybrid IT infrastructures, delivering deep security insight and continuous protection for cust...
Application availability is not just the measure of “being up”. Many apps can claim that status. Technically they are running and responding to requests, but at a rate which users would certainly interpret as being down. That’s because excessive load times can (and will be) interpreted as “not available.” That’s why it’s important to view ensuring application availability as requiring attention to all its composite parts: scalability, performance, and security.
SYS-CON Events announced today that HPM Networks will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. For 20 years, HPM Networks has been integrating technology solutions that solve complex business challenges. HPM Networks has designed solutions for both SMB and enterprise customers throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.
All we need to do is have our teams self-organize, and behold! Emergent design and/or architecture springs up out of the nothingness! If only it were that easy, right? I follow in the footsteps of so many people who have long wondered at the meanings of such simple words, as though they were dogma from on high. Emerge? Self-organizing? Profound, to be sure. But what do we really make of this sentence?
DevOps is speeding towards the IT world like a freight train and the hype around it is deafening. There is no reason to be afraid of this change as it is the natural reaction to the agile movement that revolutionized development just a few years ago. By definition, DevOps is the natural alignment of IT performance to business profitability. The relevance of this has yet to be quantified but it has been suggested that the route to the CEO’s chair will come from the IT leaders that successfully ma...
Somebody call the buzzword police: we have a serious case of microservices-washing in progress. The term “microservices-washing” is derived from “whitewashing,” meaning to hide some inconvenient truth with bluster and nonsense. We saw plenty of cloudwashing a few years ago, as vendors and enterprises alike pretended what they were doing was cloud, even though it wasn’t. Today, the hype around microservices has led to the same kind of obfuscation, as vendors and enterprise technologists alike ar...
I’ve been thinking a bit about microservices (μServices) recently. My immediate reaction is to think: “Isn’t this just yet another new term for the same stuff, Web Services->SOA->APIs->Microservices?” Followed shortly by the thought, “well yes it is, but there are some important differences/distinguishing factors.” Microservices is an evolutionary paradigm born out of the need for simplicity (i.e., get away from the ESB) and alignment with agile (think DevOps) and scalable (think Containerizati...
The cloud has reached mainstream IT. Those 18.7 million data centers out there (server closets to corporate data centers to colocation deployments) are moving to the cloud. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Achim Weiss, CEO & co-founder of ProfitBricks, will share how two companies – one in the U.S. and one in Germany – are achieving their goals with cloud infrastructure. More than a case study, he will share the details of how they prioritized their cloud computing infrastructure deployments ...
Mobile has become standard in the enterprise with smartphones and tablets common in the workplace. Anywhere, anytime access to company systems is expected and systems must work flawlessly on these devices! This demand is requiring that corporate IT departments figure out the best mobile strategy to follow. This eBook looks at how to kick start your mobile application strategy.
Even though you are running an agile development process, that doesn’t necessarily mean that your performance testing is being conducted in a truly agile way. Saving performance testing for a “final sprint” before release still treats it like a waterfall development step, with all the cost and risk that comes with that. In this post, we will show you how to make load testing happen early and often by putting SLAs on the agile task board.
Today, we are in the middle of a paradigm shift as we move from managing applications on VMs and containers to embracing everything that the cloud and XaaS (Everything as a Service) has to offer. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Kevin Hoffman, Advisory Solutions Architect at Pivotal Cloud Foundry, will provide an overview of 12-factor apps and migrating enterprise apps to the cloud. Kevin Hoffman is an Advisory Solutions Architect for Pivotal Cloud Foundry, and has spent the past 20 years b...
Go ahead. Name a cloud environment that doesn't include load balancing as the key enabler of elastic scalability. I've got coffee... so it's good, take your time... Exactly. Load balancing - whether implemented as traditional high availability pairs or clustering - provides the means by which applications (and infrastructure, in many cases) scale horizontally. It is load balancing that is at the heart of elastic scalability models, and that provides a means to ensure availability and even imp...