While many hear the term ‘the cloud’ and think of storage or hosting, cloud technology is an exciting, robust market that is only just beginning, and has real long-range benefit to both consumers and businesses. The past year has seen a boom in startups and ideas in cloud-based tools and services. Much of this has centered around business needs. It has spanned everything from payroll to billing and bookkeeping, sales and marketing department functions, to applications that track customer behavior. For consumers, online education that moves beyond the traditional courses is increasing. Web-based fitness instruction, dance lessons, cooking and more are all being offered with growing participation. Communications is an equally powerful area — I am EVP of Innovation at RingCentral, which provides cloud-based phone systems. It is a very exciting and emerging category in cloud-based technology, and one that will continue to grow in the years ahead.
While many of the deals and movement has been on the business-side, we have only just begun to see the potential for cloud-based applications. Watch for emerging trends in utility management, cross device tools and services, fun and games for kids and many, many new ideas.
An interesting blog post was sent my way about how women have changed the business world and work environments. What’s most notable and perhaps most exciting is the shift to increased collaboration and teamwork. It’s a great look into where and what women may bring to the bottom line in business, as well as useful insight for leaders and managers who are seeking to create more collaborative, connected corporate cultures and work environments. I shared thoughts about how to create a gender neutral culture in a post featured on Women 2.0 this past year. You can read it here.
I shared thoughts about gender balance in the workplace on Project Eve this past week. Project Eve is a great resource for women in business. It offers mentoring, networking and support for women across multiple industries and markets, as well as commentary, news and insight. It was great to talk about the topic among its online community. Thank you to Project Eve for including me!
I was part of a keynote at the Cloud Expo event this past week. The event brings together industry executives and technology vendors from across the market. It’s an excellent resource for anyone interested in gaining insight and seeing the latest innovations in cloud technology. Thank you to Cloud Expo for having me be part of the event this year.
Being in the cloud computing industry, and the broader tech market, it is interesting to see moves in the business. IBM is said to be teaming up with a China-based ISP to offer cloud business services. The news is compelling in that it demonstrates the continued value of business offerings in could computing, and the potential for IBM to take a larger position in the industry. The company certainly isn’t among the first to look beyond the U.S. for opportunity and scale. Very exciting!
Not long ago I shared insight about the value of creating a gender neutral organization, and how to do so in your business. As part, I referenced that a large part of this relies at the top-level, led first by example but also through effort and tactics. It beings with the leader, and means adopting a leadership style that does not view staff by gender, but by talent, experience and value. In a business world where ‘male’ and ‘female’ have had clear, defined lines — and the fact that there are can be differences in how men and women do business — it may not feel natural or instinctive to remove gender from the picture. But in doing so, leaders hold not just a great potential to better manage and drive companies overall, but unlock a great benefit to the business that both men and women bring to the job.
Here’s how to adopt a more gender neutral leadership style in your organization:
- Recognize talent first — Talent and skills are something that everyone regardless of gender possess. View your entire organization and everyone from this vantage point first. It might take extra or careful thought, but the value in doing so is more than worth it. Watch and evaluate how every person operates in your business and get to know each at this level first.
- Ignore your own gender — Gender neutral doesn’t just mean how you see and treat others. It’s also in how you see yourself and interact. It doesn’t mean you’ve got to start adopting the ways or activities of the opposite sex. Rather, operate and lead with your own talent first. By making your own gender second, you’ll increase your chances of acting and reacting gender neutral among your teams and staff — and show them how to do so as well.
- Be prepared — Gender neutral leadership doesn’t mean you won’t have instances where gender is a factor. Men and women by design have different ways of handling things, communicating or expressing emotion, etc. — and that goes for leaders as well. Get clear on how you want to handle any issues that arise, including giving yourself time to determine course of action if needed should any situations with teams and staff happen.