Cloud Computing is creating seismic shifts in the ground underneath the financial services industry. The march of the Internet continues unabated. Yet the path to global business connectivity is strewn with obstacles for large and small companies alike.

How does an enterprise build a sturdy foundation to support a wireless, connected, virtual business model to do business around the globe?

To provide some background, our firm, TABER Asset Management, offers investment management, asset management, wealth management, and financial planning service to institutions through managed money platforms and separate accounts, high net worth individuals, multi-generational families, small businesses, charitable organizations, foundations, associations, and retirement plans. What makes TABER unique is that our company’s culture has been designed from our inception to be a world class virtual investment management Cloud Computing organization—operating on a global platform. Our firm is attracting high-caliber, high-integrity investment professionals from around the globe to collaborate in a highly congenial, virtual way to provide profitable money-making opportunities to our clients, associates, partners, and shareholders.

We have encountered some obstacles over the past three years of focusing on implementing a totally virtual business model. We categorize them as worker, employer, and systemic obstacles. In this article, we will describe the obstacles that workers face and discuss how we have dealt or are dealing with them. In a following article, we will discuss employer and systemic obstacles and our suggestions for overcoming them.

WORKER OBSTACLES

So your employer offers you the opportunity to work from your home. You are now part of a group of workers that represents roughly 16% of the total work force that are given this opportunity and challenge. Issues that you will face include:

Self discipline:

Do you have difficulty staying on task or out of the kitchen? Do you find that you can’t leave the job—working in the early AM hours when you should be sleeping?

We have found that arranging a dedicated space in your home for business (not for family, social, or eating) and establishing a certain time of the day to work there helps your brain to know the difference between your work and “play” life. Another mental trick is to wear different clothes while in your “office.” Changing clothes from business or business casual to casual when leaving your home office area can signal the brain that your work day has ended.

Isolation:

Do you feel isolated when not working around others and participating in water-cooler chats?

Internet connectivity is redefining what it means to be alone and feel alone. Video conferencing usage gives you the sense/feeling of being in the same room with others, even though they may be located in different parts of the world. Family members may be in your home, allowing interaction during short work breaks. Pets remind us to stay relaxed and make fine companions. Companies can set up kiosk space for short face-to-face visits to allow workers to interact and conference with others. With being connected, it’s less about our physical location and more about our emotional state of mind.

Keyboarding vs. Writing:

One of the biggest challenges we’ve experienced is in adjusting to the need to type all of your input into your Cloud Computing technology platform. It’s a generational thing for this member of the Baby Boomer generation (born between 1946 and 1964). It’s been reinforced by decades of habit of writing notes with pens on paper. Anyone from the Net Generation (1977-1997) most likely finds no issues with this. In fact, they often can’t understand why anyone would (having grown up with computers).

It is essential to develop your keyboarding skills. Desktop PC, laptop, notebook, tablet PC’s, instant messaging and smart phones all utilize keyboards. Using more than one finger to type is really critical to the efficient use of your time.

I have improved my speed from 25 words per minute with 70% accuracy to 45 words per minute with “spell check.” Also, Voice Recognition software programs have now improved to the point that they capture your spoken dictated words with over 95% accuracy.

The “Paperless” Office

Our long standing habit of writing leads to the tendency for sheets of paper with written notes to accumulate in piles, gaining control of our physical desktops and filing cabinets. We believe this is a generational habit backed up by long standing government securities regulations requiring written documents to be in the (client’s) physical file.

We have made a conscious effort to do more keyboarding and use electronic scanners to create electronic files rather than using printers to print documents and then using fax machines to send them out. Document management software is becoming a preferable way to bring your paper files into your technology platform, allowing password protected and encrypted internet access by authorized individuals within your company.

Integration/Separation of Work and Personal Lives

Working from home and being connected 24/7 confronts an important issue relating more closely to our emotional state of mind than our physical location. With Cloud Computing connectivity, do you view yourself as having the freedom and flexibility to work from home, the ability to go out and play more afternoon golf, or watch your child’s sporting match/school program OR do you view yourself as truly never being off duty?

For those of us accustomed by the “punch the time clock” or “8-5” work environment, this is a difficult one to adjust to. We value Cloud Computing for the freedom and flexibility it affords us. We are encouraged by advancing technological solutions and enlightened employers that allow workers to 1)carry only one mobile phone, setting different ring tones to take work and personal calls interchangeably; and 2) combine work and personal lives on a single laptop or notebook, whether purchased by the company or the worker.

We believe that the obstacles created for workers in a Cloud Computing environment can be conquered when met head on. With communication technology improving and expanding at a blindingly fast pace, the question of Cloud Computing is no longer “if” but “when”. In our next article, we will discuss employer and systemic challenges to adopting Cloud Computing.

"It has been my philosophy of life that difficulties vanish when faced boldly." --Isaac Asimov, writer

Author's Bio: 

William E. (Bill) Taber is President of Taber Asset Management LLC, a registered investment advisory firm located on the World Wide Web at www.taberasset.net .

TABER Asset Management has been uniquely designed, from its inception in 1998, to operate from a cloud computing/virtual office technology platform. We are building our company and attracting a community of highly talented and uniquely qualified minds from a vast global pool of talent (the TABER Asset Management virtual global investment network). In the TABER community, highly competent investment professionals and aspiring young professionals will connect and collaborate together to create profitable money making ideas/products/services for our clients, associates, and shareholders.

Is this is a good fit for you? If so, contact William E. (Bill) Taber through www.taberasset.net or email invest@taberasset.com.