Friday, September 7, 2012

Like It or Not, Cloud Computing Is Here to Stay

Like It or Not, Cloud Computing Is Here to Stay

By Katharine Davis

Can you believe the iPhone was introduced in 2007 a mere 5 years ago and now it is so ingrained in our culture that our children appear as though they were born with advanced degrees in "I" skills. Technology changes rapidly and the producers name the tune while we, as the consumers, must dance to their song. We are the recipients of an overload of electronics and choices. Frequently accompanying those is sheer confusion deciding over which platform or device is best. But this is true; the Internet provides a platform for us all to communicate, regardless of what we use to access the Information Highway.

Three points were being made above. First, we are the consumers; how we compute is driven by what innovations and options are offered to us by the producers. Second, businesses hoping to prosper cannot ignore change, but must embrace it. Mobile device sales are surpassing traditional computer sales. Last, the Internet is indeed the infrastructure by which we are all connected. It only makes sense in this mobile society that we find the quickest, most efficient way to access our daily digital needs. Pursuant to that, the producer's philosophy has done a complete 180 in how they see infrastructure. Here we go again. It's like the mainframe revolution all over again, where things are centrally located and shared.

The thinking is that centralized storage and applications are most cost-effectively accessed by folks all going to the Internet (a central point), as opposed to using the Internet to get to their private domains in their office. When you take that in conjunction with the speed in which most people can connect to the Internet along with the universal tools available for accessing the internet, there is a natural convergence towards placing our computing resources there - at one central access point. It makes some sense and there is a strong argument that there is a high ROI for companies that abandon the idea that they need everything in-house. We can all understand it is cheaper to have one big server than lots of little ones. I am not here to make the ROI argument. I have one of those CPA degrees so my answer is "What do you want the number to be?" The truth is that the producers are developing more and more applications built on this cloud concept and an increasing number of consumers need get access to corporate and personal information on-the-go. Seems like a win-win to me, but many folks out there are uncertain if the time is right to make a leap into cyberspace with what was traditionally locked up in the computer room.

Clearly the answer is not the same for everyone and each company should evaluate their workflow, their workforce, and the costs of the various components. There is a lot of due diligence to be done in regard to providers and the language of their contracts, not to mention the security of your data. I and others have offered volumes of information and experience on the critical questions in considering such a leap... but the point today is that if you think change is bad, obsolescence is deadly. Software as a service, and cloud/mobile computing are here to stay and it behooves an organization to start including discussions of how to adapt and transition from the pervasive server/client "wintel" world. Act now because applications from backup to proprietary products are being run from external computer centers across the globe, and the Internet has become the destination, not the highway.

Cloud technology is becoming more prevalent, and a significant means of running a successful business in the construction industry. For more information on these services, call CPA Technology at 610-862-0039.

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