Application Software via the Web

Since BrassMedia – bringing web 2.0 to the enterprise, has consumed lots of my time recently, I haven’t been able to get to this blog and post. Then it occured to me that I wasn’t taking my own advice that I give to others. Many of my blog posts have been heavily researched and painstakingly crafted. It’s a great publishing tool, but I was missing the opportunity to be spontaneous and leverage the immediacy and dynamic nature of a blog. Today’s post is quick and dirty.

Software as a service…This is the current version of a vision and even dream of mine, that I’ve had for many years. As a manager, desktop services were within my realm of responsiblity. I was constantly faced with the support issues associated with thick (or fat) PCs. The total cost of ownership (TCO) of a desktop PC, particularly if you categorize it as a utility or commodity can be overbalanced. My belief has been that publishing application front ends via the local network, and lately via the web was the way to go. It would drive down desktop costs, improve reliablity, enhance security at the desktop, provide simpler user interfaces and be cross platform – Windows, MACs, Linux.

The mainframe/hosted model has many benefits:

  • low cost per unit at the desktop,
  • short replacement times in event of failure of a terminal,
  • low costs for spare units as backup,
  • data resides on the host where it is protected and backed-up,
  • update the host software once and it is done vs. trying to touch hundreds or thousands of PCs
  • reduced user intervention with downloaded software.

Just to name a few positives about the good ol’ days.

One size does not fit all and there are a number of locations were a thick PC should be used: engineers with resource intensive apps, folks using stats programs, finance crunching numbers and marketing with publishing and graphics programs . Why not a blended model? It just doesn’t make sense to spend thousands of dollars to support a $500 PC. With web published applications the desktop PC becomes a true utility and commodity. This would then allow an IT department to reduce their time, effort and staffing resources in this area and reassign them to other client areas in need of attention.

It’s all about balance.


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