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A step closer to the integrated cloud
Written by Daniel   
Tuesday, 18 March 2008 12:44

 Internet-provisioned apps can save money but don't integrate well; ZoHo is the first to try to change that

By Ephraim Schwartz
March 18, 2008

If there's any suspicion that cloud computing is just about building "best of breed" stand-alone application silos on the Web, the recent move by ZoHo may show that cloud computing is finally moving to a more integrated approach.

ZoHo, a subsidiary of AdventNet, will sometime in the second quarter launch one of the first, if not the first, suite of desktop productivity applications integrated with a set of back-end business applications — all of which sit in the cloud.

[ Exactly what is the cloud? InfoWorld blogger Bill Snyder describes what the nebulous term "cloud computing" really means. ]

The suite will include the usual word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation tools. But it also includes a suite of business apps more associated with what IT manages: ZoHo Meeting for Web conferencing, ZoHo Project for project management, ZoHo DB and Report for online databases and reporting, ZoHo People for HR services, and ZoHo CRM.

The SaaS (software as a service) approach thus far has been to offer independent apps on the Web that work essentially in isolation from each other, such as using to manage sales contacts and SuccessFactors for employee reviews. That approach doesn't let businesses easily orchestrate those independent apps, and it has limited enterprise adoption to nonstrategic or isolated applications in many cases. But the ZoHo approach of providing a suite of business and productivity applications from a single vendor may let businesses get both the cost savings of SaaS and the collaboration capabilities of self-hosted applications.   [InfoWorld...]  [Comments...]
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