March 10, 2010
“Get your head out of the clouds” is a famous saying that I’m sure we all know all too we ll. Having your head in the clouds was seen as a bad thing, when someone was daydreaming, etc. But, it’s 2010. And I say: don’t only get your head right up there in the clouds, but get your entire business up there too!
The 2 terms used to describe what I’m referring to are: “Cloud Computing” and “The Web as a platform.”
Let’s look at the evolution of computing (in a very over-simplified manner). First there were none. Then there were very big computers, mainframes, which were in the hands of a select few. Then the desktop computer was born. Then networks were born – a bunch of computers connected to each other. First you could only connect to the network’s server by physically being in the building. Then you could connect from any location by dialing in. Then national and global networks emerged. Then the Internet was born.
The Internet is, metaphorically, the cloud. More and more, all our information resides online. Less and less are we dependent on servers, desktop computers, or laptops. We are dependent – more and more – on the Internet though. But that’s okay, because access to the Internet is becoming more easy, and less costly.
If you’re a Facebook user (and I’ll bet you are), you’d have experienced the power of the cloud. Logging into your Facebook account from any computer or mobile phone provides all your Facebook information – contacts, messages, news feed, etc. The same with Twitter.
I think Internet banking was the first significant cloud service. Firstly, being able to bank online revolutionised business, in my opinion. Being able to access your bank account, and make payments, without going into a bank – changed the game forever. And if you had a bad experience as I did of having being arm robbed after leaving a bank, it tends to be one of your least favourite places to visit. Secondly, you could bank from absolutely anywhere – as long as you had an Internet connection. Phenomenal!
Today there are so many cloud services which make our lives much more productive, much more fun, and much easier. Google Apps (used by 2 million businesses worldwide, including ours) is a communication suite from Google – providing email, online documents, calendar, and more. Freshbooks is an online invoicing system – also providing time tracking, expense tracking, and quotations. Evernote, Basecamp, and many other online applications now make us more mobile. We are no longer dependent on computers or locations, we’re only dependent on the Internet – and that’s not too hard to come by these days.
It’s not easy to give up control of your data, and move it to online locations – but it’s a move we must make. And once we’ve made that move, we never want to go back!
Photo credit: kables