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Nuance 2014 Predictions - Maturing Cloud Will Bring Wide-Reaching Impact to Businesses in 2014

VMblog 2014 Prediction Series

Virtualization and Cloud executives share their predictions for 2014.  Read them in this VMblog.com series exclusive.

Contributed article by Jeffrey J. Segarra, Senior Director, Imaging Product Management at Nuance Communications

Maturing Cloud Will Bring Wide-Reaching Impact to Businesses in 2014

As we approach 2014, cloud technology is poised to impact a number of areas that are top-of-mind for organizations of all sizes.  As businesses are increasingly focused on mobility and security with the proliferation of various new devices and the transition to a BYOD workplace, the cloud is uniquely positioned to help companies manage their environment.  The cloud's storage capabilities coupled with its computing power, broadband accessibility, and the increasingly mature solutions it employs, will enable cloud computing to impact many business functions as software continues its rapid migration to the cloud in the coming year.

Document Management

In 2014, companies will have the option of deploying hybrid cloud models, where both on-premise and cloud-based document management services are used concurrently.  As document management and storage services become increasingly cloud-based, this approach will help companies to better address their redundancy and backup needs. 

Rather than purely operating behind a firewall, companies will move to a middle ground that offers the security benefits of the firewall and the user benefits of a cloud-based system.  This type of hybrid cloud offers a solution where the most secure documents are maintained safely behind the firewall but can be retrieved from the cloud, while documents with lower security requirements are published to the cloud.  In this type of structure, the security needs of the most sensitive documents are maintained, while the demands for accessibility are also met. 

Enhanced Security

The cloud will also contribute to enhanced document security as its capabilities continue to mature.  It is uniquely positioned to deliver secure, seamless security, as it combines computing power and increasingly advanced solutions with its storage function.  The cloud matured significantly in the past year, enabling more powerful solutions such as biometric authenticators, like voice, to deliver effortless and intuitive security.  Rather than requiring complex passwords and validation questions, a simple command like "My voice is my password" will unlock the environment allowing users to quickly and easily interact with the network, (e.g., "show me the last 20 documents I printed."

BYOD Management

In the midst of the growing BYOD trend the cloud will help companies and users manage the multitude of devices and documents in their environment.    Workers are now using numerous mobile and desktop devices that have unique display demands to access documents both in and out of the office.  With its separation from the corporate environment, processing power, and accessibility, the cloud is the perfect vehicle for rendering and delivering content in a format that is adaptable to different devices and settings, and takes advantage of the unique benefits and options each device has to offer.  When delivering documents, the cloud will reconcile whether a document can be delivered to a particular device and convert the information into a format that will display content in the most optimized way for that device. 

Software Licensing

The traditional model of a perpetual software license, where companies must pre-purchase a set number of subscriptions, is too inflexible for companies, creating problems for businesses that are expanding and contracting.  Increasingly, companies want to be able to choose the number of seats they own for a software subscription at any given time - adjusting up or down based on business needs.  Previously, the easiest method has been using web applications, which require people to be online for use and don't take advantage of local processing power.  Using the cloud, applications can be streamed in order to enable subscriptions to be turned on and off on demand and allow access across devices while in the office, on the go, or at home. 

Small Businesses Benefit from the Cloud

Small businesses are especially positioned to benefit from this licensing shift because of their budget constraints and small in-house IT infrastructure.  Software moving to the cloud will be particularly advantageous for small businesses as they will be able to choose from many available software options and consume software by subscription rather than making a significant up-front investment in a large number of licenses.  This benefits small businesses because it enables licensing to be centrally managed and subscriptions to be turned on and off almost instantaneously. Companies will be able to buy exactly what they need for a specific month, day or year, instead of purchasing en masse for the year. A result of this trend and the cloud's impact on business is that perpetual software agreements will continue to decline.    

Bring Your Own Software

Today, many businesses mostly use perpetual licenses - in 2014, desktop, web applications, and infrastructure will increasingly be streamed and able to be turned on and off.  This movement will create a "bring your own software" dynamic, in which virtualized technology allows users to connect with centralized systems to bring individualized content, such as a personal voice profile and personal preferences, down to a user's computer.  This seamless exchange of applications and data will enable users to keep their personal preferences in devices, data, and applications, on their device of choice, catering to the unique needs of each user and organization.

As organizations and users continue to expand the repertoire of devices and software options they choose to employ in the coming year, there is a growing need to balance enabling this diversification while simultaneously maintaining security.   Broadband connectivity to a cloud that has matured and become significantly more powerful and secure in the past year will allow organizations to cater to demands to support varying software, devices, and connectivity while still protecting corporate assets, processes and workflows.  Declines in perpetual licenses, powerful solutions such as biometric authenticators, and hybrid cloud models for document management are key ways in which companies will benefit from the accessibility and flexibility offered by the cloud in 2014. 

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About the Author

Jeff Segarra is Senior Director of Product Management for the Imaging division at Nuance Communications. He is responsible for the team that delivers the full line of scanning and business productivity products including eCopy scanning solutions for MFPs, PDF Converter Professional for creating, editing and converting PDF files, OmniPage for OCR document conversion and PaperPort for desktop document management. He has an MBA from Iona College, Hagan School of Business and has been working with software technology for 20 years.
Published Thursday, November 21, 2013 6:27 AM by David Marshall
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