About Cloud. And SaaS. And How “Big Apps” Will Always Stay Local

I’ve been doing this whole SaaS thing for a few years now, and fondly remember at the start when people said that only the most svelte of applications (or, more correctly, the applications with the most svelte of payloads) would ever move to the cloud.

The people who used to say his would point to Microsoft Office functionality, question how it would ever be replicated via SaaS and then laughingly point to a Zoho Docs or Google Docs and laugh under their breath.

And then something happened, Zoho delivered a SaaS spreadsheet tools with that holiest of grails, pivot tables (yeah, apparently they’re uber important to some folks). Google Docs got real-time collaborative editing and deeper and deeper functionality.

These people then moved on to richer apps, things like presentation software. “Never” they said “will tools like Keynote and PowerPoint be delivered from the cloud”. And then something happened, tools like Prezi and SlideRocket came about and, while they haven’t crushed PowerPoint, they both deliver great functionality to rival that of the incumbents, along with stuff that traditional apps simply can’t do (collaboration, analytics etc)

So the naysayers moved to the “heavy tools”. The sort of things that those I euphemistically call the “crayon and paintbrush crew” use. Those designers that spend their days in Photoshop and Pagemaker.

And then something else happened, Adobe announced, with a growing realization hat their future is in the cloud, an intention to introduce services in the cloud, services based upon (and sometimes even to replace) those traditional heavyweight tools like Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator and others.

And the world changed. Again

And then we read case studies like this one, where cool products like Connect2Field (disclosure – I’m an advisor) enable Mom and Pop businesses to gain efficiencies and power their businesses to compete with the “big boys”.

And the world changed again.

The world is changing my friends. Not today and maybe not tomorrow. But slowly and inexorably the world we know it is changing, and the cloud is making it happen. And I, for one, welcome our new cloud-based overlords.