Brian Fuller's blog on the media, marketing and content creation

The death of software

Posted on | April 15, 2007 | No Comments

It’s been predicted, written about and I’ve even blogged about the coming of the free office, or its predecessor, the tyranny of structure. But it’s here today, according Ismael Ghalimi.Ghalimi was one of the Sunday morning speakers who kicked off the Web 2.0 Expo in San Franciso. He’s a businessman and big proponent of running a business entirely on Web 2.0 tools and services. (As are sites such as Thinkfree.com). His company, Intalio, is into business process management, and he runs a blog, IT Redux, which touts the virtues of the online-only philosophy.
Here it is in short. Lower (or no) cost of ownership, data protection, productivity, collaboration, ease of use. By leveraging web-based tools,

“You have mobility not just across places but across devices.”

(Whether that’s a laptop, a handheld device or whatever).

To walk the talk, he ran his presentation off a conference-provided computer, doing so by loading his bookmarkers from a thumb drive he carries in his pocket. He runs everything from his browser (doesn’t hurt to go with an open-source browser, like Firefox, either).

A year ago, you couldn’t find a decent spreadsheet online or a decent presentation software. Today even tools like Photoshop are online.

Data only touches his hard drive if he needs to move something from one web app (Gmail) to another (a presentation tool). That’s because such online tools aren’t yet integrated. But that’s not far off.

He tossed up a few very intriguing examples of his own workflow. He runs a lot of his world through Salesforce.com tools. Most of his contacts are through LinkedIn. There are more than 500 web apps listed on his office 2.0 database. The one issue he’s tussling with at the moment is how to manage inspiration, if you will. There is a very cool tool in private beta called Mindmeister that he uses for organizing thoughts and projects. But because of the lack of tool integration, there’s no ready way right now to take steps from MindMeister and integrate them into a Salesforce.com like environment.
If it’s so great, what’s the downside? Working offline (on a plane) can be tricky, but it’s a solvable problem. Also, you can bet that a lot of these free tools won’t be for long (how else will they survive?) And Ghalimi predicts a lot of the 500-plus tools listed on site will be out of business in a few years, so pick a backup.
Bottom line: the framework is in place for the next generation of entrepreneurs. The only barrier to entry is creativity.

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