Monday, August 30, 2010

Google Apps: Rapid innovation in the cloud versus hosted applications

Wow, Google is rolling out a massive number of improvements to Google Apps in a short amount of time!  I count 87 entries so far on the blog for 2010, which is an average of  ~10 per month.

This is a fundamental difference between true cloud computing and the hosting of applications.  Quickbooks for example (not Quickbooks online which is not availabe in Canada), is an excellent accounting application but having it hosted doesn't elimininate the work of installing patches, learning the significant changes from the prior version, and preparing for any major impact to your current business processes.  However, for certain businesses hosting Quickbooks in a data centre is a great option that eliminates the headaches of running your own servers, provides simple remote access, and ensures backups are stored offsite.  At we've helped customers move a variety of applications into data centres but we always do a cost comparison to the alternatives before making the recommendations.  Sometimes the hardware or software requirements mean running it on the customer's own servers is the better option.

I like this analogy from one of the articles below:  "Buying the services of a traditional hosting provider is like renting a set of electricity generators, whereas a cloud computing provider provides an electrical power grid. The idea is that a cloud computing provider makes it extra easy to treat computing resources like a pay-as-you-go utility service."

NetSuite, SuccessFactors,, Freshbooks, these are all true cloud computing applications that provide continuous innovation for all of their customers.  The learning curve is small because small changes are made on a continuous basis.

Remember the big learning curve when switching from Microsoft Office 2003 to 2007?

Subscribe to the Google Apps official blog to keep up with all the changes at

Subscribe to the Microsoft Online Services/BPOS blog at

For additional reading:

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Google Apps IT Executive Summit in Toronto

Join and the Google team in Toronto to discuss if Google Apps – the cloud-based suite of email, calendar, IM, and collaboration tools – is right for you. You'll hear from a customer why they switched, their experiences with deployment, and most importantly, the results. We'll also provide an overview of our Postini services which include spam and virus filtering.
This will be a great opportunity to talk with other IT professionals and Google representatives on moving to a cloud-based model, and how to evaluate the benefits of Google Apps for your company. You'll learn:
• Why companies have switched
• How Google manages security and privacy
• Best practices for deploying Google Apps
• How to effectively implement change management
Thursday, August 26
8:30 am – 12:00 pm
Delta Chelsea Hotel
33 Gerrard Street West
Toronto, Ontario, M5G 1Z4
Register today. Space is limited so please RSVP early and answer "Interlockit" in the field "Who invited you to this event?"

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Do Canadians avoid Cloud Computing due to the Patriot Act?

Having sold U.S. based SaaS solutions for over 5 years we occasionally encounter prospective Canadian customers that use the U.S. Patriot Act as an excuse to avoid cloud computing.

Note that as far as the Federal Government knows the Patriot Act has never been used to access Canadian data.  Consider also that your customer's data is far more secure on Microsoft's or Google's servers than it ever will be on their own server in their own office.

My editorial opinion is that ensuring you have secure passwords is far more important than being concerned about the very remote possibility that the U.S. government might access your data.  1 in 3 Canadian jobs is related to international trade; to require the data to be located in Canada limits a business' opportunity to utilize the best solution at the best price and makes us less competitive in the global market. 

Would you be willing to pay 5 to 10 times more for the same service in Canada?  I did the costing analysis with 2 large SaaS companies and that was the reality of the numbers.

For further reading: