The workforce of the future will live in the cloud

Millennials are entering the workplace in increasing volumes, and are expected to account for 75% of the global workforce within the next decade; consequently, business leaders and HR professionals must adapt and provide the tools this generation needs to be as engaged and productive as possible.

A recent article on the Dell Power More website stressed that companies will need to incorporate the cloud into their strategies and operations in order to keep the future workforce happy.

Disruptive technologies such as cloud computing and mobile apps allow millennials to stay constantly connected; and they expect this level of communicative freedom at work, as well as at home. By utilising the cloud in the following three ways, organizations can retain younger workers and future-proof their business:

Office design

While previous generations tended to adapt to their workplace, a report by Cushman & Wakefield's Global Business Consulting found that younger workers expect the workplace to be adapted according to their needs. Cloud technologies allow for a more flexible office design, without the need for fixed desks. Indeed, 'hot desking' - where employees can sit wherever they choose - is now growing in popularity as people can access files from anywhere in the office, via the cloud.

On the go

If there's one thing that Millennial workers like, it's mobility. An Adweek study of their attitudes towards technology found that 52% use smartphones to conduct their work, and 61% use tablets. What's more, a Cloud Adoption report found that nearly half (48%) of the 120,000 businesses questioned said their prime productivity tool was a cloud application. Cloud-based software and mobile platforms allow workers to access corporate servers securely and reliably, while more companies are bringing in BYOD policies.

Different working styles

Each workplace demographic has its own needs and demands, which the cloud can facilitate; for example, millennials tend to prefer collaboration, whereas older workers tend to be more independent. By centralizing information and making it easily accessible to all, colleagues and departments are able to collaborate more easily. What's more, email and instant messaging are now regarded as effective communication methods for all generations.


Mobile First - Is It A Fad Or The Future?

It's no secret that global mobile adoption is on the up; but what remains unclear is whether the trend for businesses to construct their entire business models around mobile is just a fad, or the shape of things to come.

Tech Cabal recently reported on this very issue, pointing to Facebook's recent announcement that 100% of its 15 million monthly users in Nigeria and Africa are now active on a mobile device.

This isn't too surprising considering that mobile penetration is increasing in even the world's least developed areas. Last year, there were more mobile devices in the world than people; and again looking at Africa, mobile phone penetration is currently 67% - significantly more than the 4.5% penetration of personal computers.

Businesses all over the world have been adapting their efforts to mobile, and this has now begun a ripple effect whereby businesses from various sectors - from gaming to e-commerce and education - can thrive on mobile alone.

It's also disrupting the financial sector too, with Bitcoin shaking up international money transfer on a global scale and Bitcoin Wallet allowing users to make and receive payments without going through traditional banks.

There is now a genuine 'Mobile first vs Web first' discussion taking place among tech professionals, the article notes, as more and more businesses try to get a piece of the action. It's easy to see why - mobile apps and constant connectivity mean that brands have more opportunities to connect with their audiences, fostering better relationships which in turn leads to greater brand loyalty.

Constructing a business model with mobile in mind is also a good way to protect it against the future. As mobile adoption continues to expand, and younger generations - who will soon be the ones with the spending power - come to view the technology as an integral part of their lives, we are likely to see even more investment in mobile.

Commenting on the trend for mobile-led business strategy, Keith Teare, co-founder of TechCrunch, went so far as to say: "Any company that isn't primarily delivering its service via mobile five years from now will probably be irrelevant."

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Why Google is taking a closer look at disrupting health care

Not content with pretty much owning the Internet, Google is now setting its sights on the healthcare tech sector, investing some £32.5 million in health
insurance startup Oscar.

According to the GIGAOM website, the news marks Google's first investment since the announcement that it would become a subsidiary of Alphabet.

Google Capital is a growth equity fund that's part of Google/Alphabet's investment arm. Previous endeavours have included Glassdoor, Duolingo and Survey
Monkey; and now, Oscar Health Insurance Corporation.

Oscar uses the latest technology combined with intuitive design to distinguish itself from other health insurance providers, giving customers more
control over their healthcare options. With clearly defined coverage choices, the ability to connect directly with healthcare providers and the power to
monitor their care, the tech is set to revolutionise the US health sector.

There are some other startups also looking to move the industry forwards, however. Pistachio, a customer-facing insurance solution from Accordion
Health, allows customers to compare Medicare Advantage plans simultaneously, again giving them more decision-making power.

As Sriram Visiwanath, Accordion Health's CEO explains: "Oscar is a starting point for a huge change in health care, and we are working just as hard (or
harder) in bringing about consumerism within health care through our tools."

"We have a fraction of the resources of Oscar," he added, "but the same shared goal of making health plan risk management way more operationally,
financially efficient, consumer-driven and UX-centric."

As tools such as Oscar and Pistachio enter the market and give customers more options and information, it's likely to move the industry forwards because
expectations will begin to shift. Kate McCarthy - a healthcare analyst at Forrester Research - explains that, "More plans are being offered with high
deductibles. This shifts much of the upfront investment in health expenses to the patient... In turn, this is pushing patients/consumers to expect more
options in [...] and greater transparency."

Oscar is currently only available in New York and New Jersey, but there are plans to expand into California and Texas next year.