Built for the cloud or moving to the cloud

Exciting times for CIOs and business executives – real options from both Microsoft and Google to support their information workers.

For those brought up on Microsoft, with what seems like unlimited (if somewhat daunting) functionality in the Office suite, it always seems that the Google Apps suite is ‘dumbed down’ – you are required to give up some functionality.   On the other hand it may seem like nearly everything you actually  need to do can be done in Google Apps – and there’s less to learn.

The cloud seems to have caught fire.  Microsoft has been pushing aggressively on its BPOS offering and the pricing has become a lot sharper.  Meanwhile Google has been busily beefing up its sales and support resources around Google Apps.

Either way both offerings have many attractions for the CIO – in terms of taking away headaches around upgrades, storage, support, etc.

And both offer lots of functionality in the collaboration type space – wikis, blogs, etc.

Side by side with this there are all the other players e.g. zoho with a very comprehensive offering for the information worker – also priced on a subscription basis.  And for project management basecamp seems to be getting a great deal of traction.  And one goes back to the previous thought – are some of these simpler, built for the cloud, product offerings easier to use, if somewhat ‘dumbed down’?

Interesting piece in Forbes re Google, ‘When Google runs your life’.  Seems to me that no more than Microsoft pushing wall-to-wall MS, Google is inevitably pushing google wall-to-wall.  Apologies for unfortunate use of outdated imagery – probably should be cloud-2-cloud.

I think much of the elegance of the web 2.0 applications has been their simplicity and ease of use.  That has driven initial uptake. Products such as googlewave, in trying to deliver a very rich solution, risk contradicting some of this.  There are similar risks in any vendor looking to achieve cloud-2-cloud dominance.

Seems to me that what the internet and the cloud  should be offering – as they evolve – are  easier and more effective ways to access resources (people, knowledge) – both inside and outside the organisation in which you work/ study/ volunteer.  Cloud based computing is part of this.  I think as such the winning solutions may be ones built from scratch for the cloud, expecting to coexist in the cloud, not expecting to dominate.

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