Having worked in IT Management for small business for over a quarter of a century there have been many changes. Or have there?
If we think back to the first computerisation of businesses it was all about centralised computing; one extremely large server in which all the processing was done. The earliest adopters would have used punched cards for input before things advanced a little to what most people think of as mainframe computers with the classic green screen terminals.
Then in the late ‘80s we saw the introduction of the first PC’s into small to medium businesses. This was normally the company accountants who wanted to do spreadsheeting in Lotus 1-2-3. By the mid to late ‘90s PC’s where replacing green screens and we entered the age of real-time distributed computing. This posed many challenges for your IT organisation. Not least how to manage these individual computers and how secure the data held on them.
The Internet has changed everything once again. Web applications are in effect taking everything back to the age of centralised computing. Whilst it may not be a green screen dumb terminal being used to access the system, the data storage and core processing is being done on the web server.
The growth of the Internet has helped to breed a plethora of new Internet connected devices from PC’s, laptops, mobile phones, tablets, and wearable technology such as smart watches. My car is even Internet connected offering monthly status reports and WiFi for passengers. This explosion in devices has in part been enabled by new Internet cloud services such as Microsoft Office 365. This classic example of cloud computing allows you to work on a document on your PC then pick up your tablet or phone and continue from where you left off. No connecting of cables or manual syncing required. Just an Internet connection be that WiFi or mobile Internet. Whilst this is not truly centralised computing because the device is processing the data, it does bring everything back to a centralised storage location within a web management portal.
No matter what your company does there is almost certainly some area of your business that could benefit from some good old fashioned 21st century computing.
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