Cloud Apps: Toys for the Techs or Tools for the Rest of Us?

by Marcy Hoffman on January 25, 2012

The sheer volume of articles and ads about the Cloud are deafening but who are they talking to? Who will be the consumers for Cloud apps? Will it be the IT guys/gals in the backroom or the secretaries and managers in the office?

Actually, that debate has already been resolved. Everyone who turns on a smart-phone or uses a computer accesses the Cloud daily.

We use the Cloud every time we visit a website (hosted in the Cloud), log into our bank account (hosted in the Cloud), Skype a colleague (in the Cloud), open our email (hosted in the Cloud), or access our company’s CRM to get client information (data hosted in the Cloud).

The Cloud is a fact of life. So why do we hear so many still asking, “what is the Cloud and is it for me or my business?”

It might be the messaging. Cloud providers show photos of servers and large data centers to make their point: IBM talks about Virtual Servers on the horizon and Microsoft’s ads include “ IT is experiencing a shift from the traditional client/server to the cloud.”

Interesting, only most people don’t care about virtual servers or client servers: they just want what they use to work.

Not too long ago, my car died and my AAA savior told me it was just a loose “thing-a-ma-jib” that was easy to fix. Only I don’t really care to “fix a thing-a-ma-jib” or a “what-cha-ma-a-cal-lit.” I just want to drive my car.

The singular biggest frustration we all share is when the very objects we depend on don’t work: my computer died and my files are lost; our server is down and I can’t access my email; or we bemoan about the time and complexity involved in downloading a new multi-seat program that isn’t compatible with our hardware.

We just want to work, talk, share, play  and live life without knowing what is under the hood.

And that is the message of Cloud apps: They are here, everyone is using them to some degree, and those businesses who want to succeed will embrace them (or their competitors will).

We drive our cars to get from point A to point B and it is a bonus when we enjoy the experience. We select our cars to meet our needs and test drive them before we purchase. There are some who examine the engine and ask questions which to me sound like a foreign language. Yet the rest of us select our cars for practicality, excitement, or status. We expect the car to work, and when/if we have a problem, we depend on the manufacturers or mechanics to fix them while we are at work.

Cloud apps free us from hardware and malware headaches and free us from our desktop and servers, much like the cell phone freed us from landlines. Cloud apps enable us to work without dependence on a specific computer, downed servers, incompatible hardware, or IT headaches that would stump Alex Trebek. We can work and when there is a problem or an upgrade, it is fixed, invisibly by your Cloud provider.

Unlike your car however, much of the Cloud is free and the rest works on a pay-as-you-go model. No long term commitments, nor a need to purchase or upgrade equipment and never the dreaded walk into the manager’s office to negotiate terms.  It’s like that wonderful hum when you turn the key into the ignition.

InfoStreet’s Small Business Blog’s mission is to make sense of the ‘Cloud’, to help small businesses realize the benefits from cloud computing and to provide small business owners with a full range of information and resources.

InfoStreet, a Cloud app provider, helps clients navigate the multitude of Cloud apps launched daily to develop a customized, comprehensive solution to allow companies to work on their core competency. Contact us to see how InfoStreet can change help your company, whether you have 100 employees or one.





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