If you’ve heard about the cloud but you don’t know or fully understand it, or simply haven’t decided it’s for your business, the next generation of cloud could be the clincher.
To put it simply, the cloud is about accessing software, applications and/or infrastructure via the internet and third party servers. And chances are you’re already using next generation cloud: iTunes, Outlook, Dropbox are just some examples.
These applications are based on the ‘Software plus Service’ model whereby the software and the internet-based services are available together. You don’t need an internet connection to access the software/application because it’s loaded onto your computer but it can still be used with the internet if you like.
In contrast, the first generation of cloud is based on the Software as a Service (SaaS) model, where you operate an application via a web browser only and can do so from any computer connected to the internet. You don’t install any software, so the software is essentially provided as a service.
In the SaaS model, if you don’t have an internet connection, you can’t access your data and software. Think of Hotmail – you can access it from any computer with an internet connection, but once you log off you lose all access to your inbox.
Next generation cloud is the evolution of SaaS because you have offline and online access to your data and applications with the comfort of having more control. With Google Docs for example – you can now open and edit documents while offline and sync those changes online when you are connected to the internet. Handy if you want to do some work on a long plane trip or if you don’t have internet access.
The same goes with MYOB’s upcoming AccountRight Live product, which is next-gen cloud accounting (an Australian first). Your data is saved securely online, regularly synced and you can work offline or make a local back-up whenever you want.