Confusion surrounding the cloud still seems rife. The buzz word of choice in IT at the moment is one that everyone has heard yet only some understand. Assumptions of what people can do in the cloud are not helping matters. Cloud delivery is still emerging with Office 365 still awaited and Microsoft have this month released their Cloud CRM system, Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Interestingly, Sony are about to release a cloud storage facility for the PS3 and rather than using the term Cloud they are coining the title ‘Online Saving’. This is of course a cloud offering but Sony must have decided that the straight forward name of Online Saving will better communicate the offering to the PS3’s consumer audience.
Email overload has finally met its match. Gmail, part of Google Apps Premier has introduced a new feature called Priority Inbox that is going to be able to save users of company email the most important of commodities, time. Google has built a system which works out which of your messages are important and presents them at the top of the screen, saving company workers time. The rest of your messages are still there, but you don’t have to dig through spam that escaped your filters to find those important emails.
We’ve been learning a lot at Cloud Hypermarket about what the main points of interest for business are when it comes to choosing between the main vendors of email based Software-as-a-Service suites - Microsoft and Google. On deeper inspection there is quite a disparity between Microsoft’s BPOS offering and Google Apps premier, each offering its own bonuses. As far as features are concerned you can compare Microsoft's BPOS and Google Apps on Cloud Hypermarket. However it seems to me that the main difference between the products has very little to do with functionality.The vast majority of IT managers I have talked to have grown an affinity with Google and have spent time focussing on that, whilst remaining fully blinkered about Microsoft’s offering (some seem to refuse to acknowledge its existence). In this case Microsoft’s familiarity seems to have been working against it. IT managers have had years of having very little competition to Microsoft when it comes to dealing with email. They’ve literally had to use Outlook and Exchange. In 2009, 36.7% of all email, both domestic and business, was used through Microsoft’s Outlook client (see chart Outlook 2000, 2003, Express and Outlook 2007). Source: Campaignmonitor.com
Further to my very simplistic view of the cloud in my previous post I thought it would be worth elaborating on what the concept of 'the cloud' would mean to small (non IT) business. I went to the world cloud forum in Kensington Olympia this week and also took part in ‘Cloud Camp’. The introductory speech was from Simon Wardley and it was excellent – something that anyone who doesn’t really know about the cloud should try and catch. There are versions of his introduction on youtube and I would suggest it is worth checking out if you want a good basic idea of what ‘the cloud’ is.
I thought for my first Cloud Hypermarket blog, I would write something simple and straightforward for those of you who are struggling with the very concept of the cloud. I have explained it to several businessmen who have been pleased that they have eventually got their head around what is essentially a straightforward concept.
With growing optimism about the end of the recession, businesses everywhere are looking to grow their operations, whilst at the same time keeping a handle on costs. With the banks not lending businesses are looking for new and innovative solutions to allow them to grow. Nowadays, IT is a central part of every business but traditionally can be prohibitively expensive.