I have given many talks in recent years about my experiences in pioneering cloud applications. I have spoken at events ranging from C-level round tables to professional seminars to large vendor events with more than 5,000 people attending. I have had press conferences with fifty or so journalists. One thing that I find interesting is that the nature of the questions I get asked has changed over that time as an increasing number of people are becoming cloud-savvy.
In the early days, almost every question was about security and privacy, data sovereignty. More recently the questions have been more technical in nature – how to implement, how to handle change management, legal issues around the service level agreements etc.
So it came as a bit of a surprise to speak last week to a room of 150 people almost completely new to cloud at an event held at Google’s Sydney offices. The questions were quite mixed, but they all had one thing in common: the audience hadn’t realised that Cloud computing is different from the way they currently do things.
After years of doing interesting things with the various technologies on offer, it is easy to become complacent about just how radical a difference Cloud computing can make to a business prepared to see it as an opportunity to make real change. So the opportunity to share some basics with this audience was exciting and fresh. They thought Google Apps would bring them a different mail-server. I showed them how it was fundamentally different from in-house approaches: not just an outsourced mail server but an opportunity collaborate and move around untethered.
The freedom to innovate, the freedom to explore, the freedom to dream.
I found it really exciting to see them starting out on this journey that has changed so much.
This article is the first in a series of articles looking at changes/improvements I would like to see happen. You will find them categorised under the category “Things I Want to See”, and also filed under specific vendors where appropriate.
An increasing number of people are coming to understand intuitively the difference between traditional peer-to-peer document sharing modes where multiple instances of documents exist, at least once on each client machine. You know the drill, you attach a document to an email, the recipient opens the attachment, edits it, saves it and then attaches the saved new version to a new email and sends it back. Before long, there are multiple copies of the document and it can be difficult to know how the document evolved. In the case of several people, it can even be difficult to know which version of the document is the current one. There may not even be one single latest version, as two people may edit two different earlier versions at once. Stitching these all back into a master document is not easy.
A lot of tools have been developed to simplify the potentially incredibly complex task of managing all these document versions. But the cloud provides a simpler way, by fundamentally only having one document location. So instead of linking people to people, you link people to documents and the problem elegantly goes away:
|Traditional Document Sharing||Cloud-based Document Sharing|