Companies move into the network cloud

The early promise of web-based application service providers seems to be coming to fruition. Not only that, many of the most useful applications (like Gmail) are free. Evan Williams, creator of Blogger (and now at startup Odeo.com), talks here about running your company on web apps. As he says, “One interesting thing about starting a company today versus a few years ago: Lots of cool web apps are now available that you can more or less run you company on.” He rattles off a short list of online software they use and then continues, “The improved efficiency of having these apps available, and not having to install and maintain servers for them is huge.” Williams is certainly an early adopter in an immature field, but there’s no question which way the wind is blowing. Salesforce.com is damaging PeopleSoft (er… I mean Oracle), because you can just hire sales people and not worry about hiring IT staff. Fewer IT staff means fewer ferrets in the bag when you’re trying to move quickly. Companies in the future will come and go like foam on the waves, because everything, aside from the actual innovative force driving the enterprise, will be virtualized and outsourced. Barriers are dropping and boundaries are blurring.

2 thoughts on “Companies move into the network cloud”

  1. I wonder if Google will ever bundle Gmail into their appliance (many companies don’t want sensitive data going outside their firewall). That would really be taking Microsoft on in its core market.

  2. I’m a firm believer that the next revolution in computing is that functionality will not need to be local, it can and increasingly will be remote. The physical location of the software you’re using will be non-issue. Instead, we’ll see a focus on webservices and other tools to remove the dependence on having to install software. The trend, I’m predicting, will be to focus more on using network-available services to develop and deliver applications. The focus we see now by software companies, that of licensing installations, is being eroded. Licensing access to algorithms is the next step. I think this will also have other nice effects, like consolidating APIs and improving consistency between environments.

    I also think the idea of data being sent outside a firewall is a bigger beurocratic/regulatory issue than a technical one. That might slow things down, but not as much as people think.

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