Cloud innovation – what do we mean by that? Sometimes it’s about plumbing, the technical infrastructure that underpins the network and cloud data centers. Sometimes it’s about productivity. Sometimes innovation means mashing together technologies or applications in ways that nobody ever imagined. Often, these days, cloud innovation means wearables or mobile devices. And sometimes cloud innovation means new business models.

We sometimes forget that cloud innovation might simply make someone happy. Softchoice, a company that helps organizations use technology to be more successful, has a new study that looks into that exact issue.

The study, called “Tech Overload is Overblown: Cloud Apps & the Happiness Effect,” says, and we quote,

• 74% of employees who use up to 5 cloud apps say they are happy at work, compared to just 19% of non-app users

• 85% of employees who use 6 or more cloud apps for work feel that they have an optimal work-life balance, compared to 59% of non-app users

• 96% of employees who use 6 or more cloud apps feel productive at work, compared to 77% of non-app users

This research shows that technology – specifically, access to and use of cloud apps – makes employees happier at work, more satisfied with their work-life balance and more willing to stay with their current employers .

Given that less than one-third of North American workers are engaged in their jobs, the power of the cloud as a means to employee happiness cannot be understated .

What’s good for employees is often good for employers. The study continues,

Happiness isn’t the only factor positively influenced by cloud app adoption . According to survey results, employee productivity, job excitement and business success each trend up with increased app use . Only 30% of non-apps users claim to get excited about going to work, compared to more than 80% of staff using six or more apps .

Most surprising, in light of business leaders who attest to technology’s distracting potential, is the connection between cloud app use and company growth . Respondents who use six or more apps at work were more than eight times more likely to report their organizations’ revenues grew by 9%+ in the past year (compared to non-app users).

There’s a lot of great information in this study, which you should download and read – it’s free, and you don’t even have to register. In particular, you might want to look into the data breakdown in specific industries, such as legal, financial services, healthcare and manufacturing. There’s also an analysis of the difference between how men and women view cloud applications.

Here’s another tidbit:

A firm’s technical savvy and cloud accommodations play an important role in employee happiness . Employees who have single sign-on technology for their cloud apps, for example, are three times more likely to be happy with their jobs than those without it (60% v . 20%) . Only 39% of employees report having single sign-on options currently, highlighting an important gap between employee IT desires and business reality .

Employee happiness – that’s a metric that too-often overlooked when evaluating business technology. We’re glad to see that someone has highlighted the importance of, well, helping employees to smile.

Speaking of smiling, we are getting ready to close nominations for the Clouded Leopards Den 2015 prize, which recognizes the most innovative cloud startups, including early phase (looking for Round A funding) and later phase startups (looking for Round B/C funding). Here is the entry form, it’s not too late to send us nominations. Follow the story at @CloudLeopardDen.