Recently a couple of announcements caught my eye that really speak to our contention that Cloud Computing democratizes IT. As we said in a previous CloudU report, Cloud Computing is facilitating a seismic shift in terms of business development. Formerly, entrepreneurs who wished to start a business had to invest significant capital into hardware and software licenses. Even the simplest of businesses required expensive software licenses, a server or two and the associated administration cost of keeping it all running. The availability of Cloud Computing solutions has led to a massive shift in the availability of computing power.
A couple of cases in point… a little while ago I was excited by some of my friends who started up a great little Learning Management System, Litmos. I’ve known the Litmos crew for a few years, and actually reviewed their offering nearly three years ago. Recently they announced that they were being acquired by the massive software company Callidus. It seems to me that this is really democratization in action. From a small island nation in the South pacific, with very little capital and only a few staff, Litmos where able to build up a business that, in short space of time, would be a target for acquisition.
Litmos did this by using democratized technology – from economical internal development tools, to cloud storage, from web based email platforms to SaaS accounting. While it is impossible to argue that startups didn’t grow before the advent of the Cloud, I believe that Cloud has enabled these startups to grow more quickly, more easily and more flexibly than before. A recent study of the services that Y Combinator (a large technology incubator in the US) startups use reveals that, indeed, startups are embracing the cloud over and above running technology in house.
And to continue on about that theme of democratization, here’s another example. Recently Intuit announced the launch of Intuit Anywhere which allows third party applications to integrate with the US’s most well known SMB accounting software, QuickBooks. In the past, a software developer that wanted to build an add-on solution for an accounting application would not only have had to invest in software and hardware of heir own, but they would have had to jump through a huge number of metaphorical hoops to get it built. Today however, in the democratized industry we work in, developers have the ability to use plug and play tools, and are enjoying the fact that vendors are more keen than ever to let data flow freely.
Now of course these two examples aren’t solely caused by Cloud Computing – Open Source software, the rise of social media and changes in the economy also play their part. But I’ll go out on a limb and say that from the technology perspective, it’s Cloud Computing that enables many of these changes to occur. Justification for our contention that Cloud Computing is a revolution rather than simply evolution.
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