"Which technologies are making such a dramatic difference? There are five specific ones. I collectively refer to them as the Five Enablers," writes Phil Simon in his book The New Small: How a New Breed of Small Businesses is Harnessing the Power of Emerging Technologies .
Cloud computing is one hot technology, and for good reason. At a high level, cloud-based applications allow employees to access company information from wherever they are. Data and applications in the clouds are simply more accessible than those stored in a single location. Although there are security implications related to de-perimeterizing the enterprise, cloud applications are gaining momentum as organizations try to improve accessibility and information – and reduce the cost of getting it.
Software as a service (SaaS) is kind of a cousin to cloud computing. In fact, the latter enables the former. SaaS is a software distribution model in which applications are hosted by a vendor or service provider and made available to customers over a network, typically the Internet. SaaS is becoming an increasingly prevalent delivery model as underlying technologiess that support Web services and service-oriented architecture mature and new development approaches become popular. Meanwhile, broadband service has become increasingly available to support user access from more areas around the world.
Free and Open Source Software (FOSS)
FOSS alternatives to traditional (read: paid) offerings have been gaining acceptance for years. For those who doubt the penetration of open source (OS) software in ordinary life, consider that it is now penetrating even the hallowed – and traditionally conservative – halls of academia.
Mobile technologies extend the capabilities of certain applications, particularly in retail, manufacturing and inventory-related environments. The number and variety of consumer-oriented applications are absolutely astounding. ..The bottom line with mobility is this: People no longer need to be chained to desktops or laptops to access or receive information. The potential of mobility is simply massive. Collectively, the New Small has embraced the use of smart phones and productivity-enhancing apps. Mobility is unquestionably useful. Unfortunately, many companies are too scared to embrace a mobile world. Others are intrigued by its possibilities but, for whatever reason, cannot make any headway.
Social networking and media are piping hot topics these days. Many people at least partially understand how to use social networking tools on a personal level. However, fewer are sure about what – if anything – these tools can do at work. Many people wonder whether they should even be on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn while on company time.
Excerpt adapted from The New Small: How a New Breed of Small Businesses is Harnessing the Power of Emerging Technologies , by Phil Simon, published by Motion Publishing LLC, Copyright 2010.