Here’s a worthwhile review of Microsoft’s Business Online Productivity Suite (BPOS). Called “Microsoft’s BPOS: Cloud Computing’s Silver Lining?”, it concludes:
“We couldn’t think of a single reason why an average person under real-world circumstances wouldn’t be better off with software as a service provided the look, feel, and functionality of the cloud app was identical to its packaged counterpart...except one.”
That one reason is simply if you have an old line of business application (like an accounting program).
One of the interesting points the article does raise is that the standard desktop software we currently use is only licensed. We don’t own it, even though we pay big dollars for it. So, licensing a package across the Internet is essentially very similar to way it has always been done, with some major benefits. You only pay per month, per user and you get access to the latest updates of the package rather than having to apply updates or install new versions.
Everyone agrees there are challenges for online software however as the article again says:
“If Microsoft doesn’t carry this service model to fruition, someone else, Google being first in line, will.”
As the article also highlights, we seem to believe that small businesses won’t make use of things like SharePoint and Live Meeting, where in fact quite the opposite will be true. They are going to embrace these tools since they allow them to run their business more efficiently. I feel these are businesses that are going to shed their existing infrastructure first (bye, bye SBS) and move en masse to online applications.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – the world is changing. Are you?