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If you ask a random employee at an organisation if he works in the cloud, most of them will respond: “only when I’m in an airplane”. In short: most employees don’t know the difference between a cloud service or a desktop service. And they should not have to know the difference. However, the big difference is that some vital cloud services are not accessible on the desktop, especially the intranet.  I think we will see a shift to a greater use of desktop apps that seamlessly sync with the cloud.

We all know the benefits of cloud computing in terms of accessibility of data. But let’s be honest, how many times did you get phoned by a colleague if you could send document X that was placed on a harddisk at a local network. Or how many times did you have to log-in at someones account, because he had to forget to send this draft document to his home adress. Clearly the step for many users to store their docs in the cloud is too far way. Great desktop apps can lower the barrier to participate in a cloud environment.

Digital workplace
As intranets will shift more towards a “digital workplace” (read this blog by Jane McConnel), the accessability of information will need to move beyond browsers. Ofcourse the most vital information should be available by mobile, but also a desktop app can dramatically increase the use of communicating and sharing information with your colleagues. No wonder that enterprise collaboration tools like Yammer and MangoSpring have invested in a desktop tool.

Users now for example can have a chat with colleagues, share and read documents and discuss topics through these tools. All from their desktop. Everything is happening in the cloud, but the user feels he is just working on his desktop.

MangoSpring desktop app in action

MangoSpring desktop app screenshot

Some benefits are:

  • trigger to engage in conversation is placed on desktop
  • lower barrier for uploading docs in a cloud
  • brings instant messaging and communicating to desktop

I’d like to hear from you: What’s your vision on enterprise desktop apps?

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