I’m in Asia right now and have my usual supply of software and computer hardware with me (including The Flip video camera and a Logitech web cam). However, what’s interesting is that if I had no computer hardware, I could get along just fine.
Pretty much everywhere in the world – and for sure in most developed countries – you can find a computer with Internet access. Most likely the computer has a copy of Microsoft Office on it – but if it didn’t you could download an Office viewer, use OpenOffice, Google Docs, ThinkFree or some other free or low cost hosted application to create, read or edit documents.
What’s my point?
The days where you MUST have software are over. Sure, having software on your computer is nice, and sometimes faster. But with online access to your bank account, online bookkeeping software (such as QuickBooks online), hosted Microsoft Exchange – there’s little need for software. Everything you need – data and software – is in the cloud.
Using Adobe’s online photo editing service you don’t even need software on your computer to edit photos.
Not only are more and more applications available through software as a service but computer support and maintenance are also available – remotely. Intel’s vPro is one of the leading technologies for remote computer maintenance and Dell is one of the PC vendors aggressively moving into the world remote maintenance and software as a service overall.
Cnet writes: Dell plans to pre-load computers with more subscription-based functions. The idea: give IT another, presumably less expensive way to access a myriad of systems management functions through the “cloud.”
The details are still being worked over but the idea would involve a range of high-end services delivered through the cloud, like remote infrastructure management, or the ability to monitor and proactively deal with malfunctioning assets on a computer network.
Some of this is old wine in new bottles as cloud computing has become a buzzword, covering everything from the delivery of computer services to the hosting of applications off premises. Dell already includes remote data protection services for its new E-series of notebooks. So it is that whenever a lost or stolen laptop gets attached to a network, the system will identify the unit and automatically delete any data on the hard drive.
As your IT infrastructure matures and you migrate to newer technologies, it’s vital that you consider how cloud computing can save you money and make you more productive.