iCloud for business?
AlexandreLanoue 120000Q4RJ Visits (7105)
Everybody has been following what Apple did over the last few years: iPod, iPhone, iPad and now...iCloud. With its new baby, Apple is raising the bar again in the consumer market. How about businesses now? Since the release of the iCloud, I read many white papers and blogs about the possible utilization of the iCloud in a business context. Unfortunately for us...it is not there yet.
So, where is the iCloud for business? Many collaboration cloud offerings are there in the market: LotusLive from IBM, Office 365 from Microsoft or Google App for Business. All of those are business level cloud collaboration suite. However, they are not “iCloud equivalent”. Why? The answer is simple, they are all missing a real and proper mobile integration.
The first real attempt I saw over the last year has come from Microsoft & RIM. With their integration of the BES Server with Office 365, this is really becoming to be a real and complete cloud offering for business. However, as you could imagine, this integration is limited to Blackberry only. Not that there is anything wrong with this (I really like Blackberry), but it does not allow the users to select the mobile unit they want. Also, I did not find which features of Office 365 are supported by this integration.
Google offers integration with all of the major mobile platform (iPhone, Blackberry & Android). Their portfolio is interesting (email, calendar, contacts, & docs) and I really like their integration with the mobiles devices (and most particularly the integration with Blackberry through their Google App Connector for BES). The only disappointment is that it does not seem to have support for electronic meetings.
My first love being named Lotus, I am unfortunately still waiting for the same type of feature integration with LotusLive. IBM recently released mobile integration with all major mobile platform, but it is nothing to get excited so far since it only includes the mail integration & meeting. However, I do believe that IBM is on the right track as they are the only one with a pure cloud offering even for Blackberry. I am looking forward to see any announcement of mobile integration with their LotusLive Connections and LotusLive Engage platform.
The challenge is huge to create an iCloud for business. All the vendors are working on this challenge and I hope they will not forget what made Apple successful: It just works!