A good rule of thumb is : if it’s covered in the Economist Magazine, then it’s just about to go business mainstream. When you’re evaluating new technologies you neither want to be too early (with a high risk of betting on the wrong horse), or too late (and miss the boat). The economist = mainstream rule of thumb has been true for trivial things such the Internet, Open Software , Agile Project development, Web 2.0 and Blogging.
So , this article in the Dec 19th – Jan 2nd Edition (tagline ‘Consumer technologies are invading corporate computing’) should make you sit up and take notice.
Basically, it states that such Web 2 mainstays such as WebMail (from Google) as well as Google’s Office replacements (for Word and Excel) are ready for the corporate mainstream. Introduced by employees familarity with these tools in the consumer market, the reason for their adoption will be financial : by specialising in these areas , Google can provide what were formerly in house desktop applications quicker , faster , cheaper and more reliable than any other provider (e.g. Microsoft) and better than the in house IT teams.
The 2 points that I take from this are:
- ‘Software as a Service’ (i.e. something you get over the web , rather than in a shrink-wrapped box) has finally reached the tipping point. It’s a similar moment (with equal opportunities) to when the internet first arrived, or the move from Dos (text based computers) to Windows (Graphics and mouse).
- With the amount of Viruses in existence, it can be argued that web based applications are now more secure than anything running on a PC. Google is a bit like Ryanair , the low cost Irish Airline, in this regard. One major crash and the damage to their reputation would put them out of business. Do you get the same ‘paranoid about safety and security’ feeling when looking at the average consumer PC?
An example of this trend is FirstPartners.net email. We could manage it ourselves, but allowing Google Apps for Your Domain to do it for us allows us to get on with doing things that clients will pay us for.