A guest post from the inimitable and highly personable MiramarMike

If you’re like a lot of people I know both working with IT and those purporting to support those using IT) and are wondering what the big deal is about using a damned browser to do some fancy dancy things then I urge you to read Tim O’Reilly’s Web 2.0 and Cloud Computing

Key phrase (out of a couple, I must admit):

This top level of cloud [Cloud-based end-user applications] computing definitely has network effects. If I had to place a bet, it would be that the application-level developer ecosystems eventually work their way back down the stack towards the infrastructure level, and the two meet in the middle. In fact, you can argue that that’s what force.com has already done, and thus represents the shape of things. It’s a platform I have a strong feeling I (and anyone else interested in the evolution of the cloud platform) ought to be paying more attention to.

Ah yes, but the web, it’s still a playground for those that have the time, inclination and not enough work to do … isn’t it? How does this fit into an organisation where all these noncey “Cloud-based end-user applications” are viewed with a very cynical eye?

Imagine if you were back in the early ’80s at the advent of this new fandangle called a “PC” (IBM compatible, of course) … would you have been able to forsee how it would transform each and every organisation you have ever worked in, done business with or merely “touched”? No, probably not, I know I didn’t. However, there would be few amongst us that would have not felt that it was a changing moment … computing life was not going to be the same for anyone.

I can actually remember the moment when I realised that. I was working at the newly opened St Ivel House in Wootton Basset (near Swindon, UK) in the IT Dept (having been moved out of the Finance Dept where I was working with actual people ;-). The IT Operations Manager was a very down to earth Welsh guy that I totally respected and during a week of “giving this new Windows 3.1” a go he approached me and asked, “Mike, be honest, do you think this is going to go anywhere?” … I thought about how every single non-IT member that had had a play walked away with a smile on their faces because the buttons went up and down, the buttons were just like real button. I said, “Totally!”

Did I know how it would play out and what it would mean for Microsoft, PC manufacturers and that many many people would end up having a PC in their home, no. But I knew that it hit home emotionally and ‘real people’ got it.

I have seen that happen over and over with wiki editing, blogging and collaborating with Google Apps (“Wow, my mate is editing this spreadsheet AT THE SAME TIME!!”). It happens so many tims with so many other good cloud computing applications – in a nutshell: it just works.

How will this play out, no idea … but it WILL play out.

Mike Riversdale

I (Mike Riversdale, aka Miramar Mike) have worked all my professional life alongside users of information with my work with software vendors (Business Objects, Sydney), New Zealand government agencies (Department of Corrections, Ministry of Health, Christchurch City Council), charitable organisations (skylight) and private/public companies (Fronde, Etam).

My focus is always on the real users and their information demands – I have been called the “people’s poet”!

Working for Fronde and as an independent consultant my role is to introduce the concepts, educate around the challenges and ultimately help deliver available, findable and useful information to those that need it.

I am experienced in the full gamut of Enterprise 2.0 tools and, despite a leaning towards open source, I am totally vendor independent – whatever works for the client!

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