The adoption of cloud software has turned a corner. Accounting software vendors are heavily marketing their cloud solutions over their desktop software. And the king of the desktop, Microsoft, has already made its two-year-old cloud platform Office 365 into a multi-billion dollar business.
Another sign is the growing complaints from IT professionals claiming there’s nothing wrong with the status quo. The response to a previous opinion, Why Your IT Guy Could Lose His Job, has attracted over 50 comments, most of them negatively responding to cloud software.
This week a post on integration between cloud programs drew another defence of desktop software. “There is no problem with desktop connecting to cloud,” said a poster called “Graeme” in response to a BoxFreeIT story about MYOB adding cloud apps to its directory of programs that connect to its accounting software.
“Unfortunately the concept of distributed applications has been hijacked by the term cloud,” Graeme added.
There are many reasons why cloud software is superior to desktop software. From the vendor’s perspective they get paid every month instead of every upgrade and there’s only one version to support. Software users can access the software from a browser on almost any device, receive invisible updates and are always on the latest version. (And yes, cloud software is more secure than most desktop apps, generally speaking.)
There are trade-offs, of course. No ability to purchase the software outright and lack of access without internet are legitimate issues.
But in response to the complaint above, cloud software is clearly easier to integrate – and that means higher levels of automation within business systems, and ensuing productivity and efficiency gains.
I came across an article yesterday about the six best ways to integrate Salesforce.com. The post, by Tanner Shamrock, a technical architect with global cloud integrator Cloud Sherpas, looks at real-time data integration, real-time mashups, near real-time mashups, batch data integrations and AppExchange ‘installations’ for moving data in and out of the Salesforce.com CRM platform.
Even if these options were possible with a server or desktop-based software program, the cost of building the same interface would be much greater. Cloud software, written to take advantage of the internet, opens the door to a world of new possibilities unimagined in the days of desktops and servers.
Whether you call them distributed applications, online apps, cloud apps, internet software – whatever it is – they are the future for business technology, and the future has already arrived.