In some situations, the cloud allows for extra interoperability, with the ability to choose the best tool for a given job, which is also known as a “best-of-breed” approach. For example, your organization might decide that Salesforce best meets your needs for customer relationship management (CRM), while SharePoint 2013 performs best for document management. These tools could be used side-by-side with additional cloud-based systems, such as a human resources system that fit your business needs and price range.
However, this kind of interoperability is largely due to concessions by software developers, not some innate quality of cloud computing. You may love that you have the flexibility to run many Microsoft applications on your Mac, but this arrangement only exists because Microsoft and Apple have found it mutually beneficial. And these kinds of arrangements may be at risk as cloud-based all-in-one solutions become more feasible and robust.
Case in point: Have you heard about this thing called Office 365? Microsoft has put its foot on the gas pedal to move rapidly, widening the divide between productivity ecosystems. The Microsoft and Google productivity systems do not play well together, and that’s no accident. These systems make it difficult for users to integrate software from an outside vendor.
In other words, once you adopt a productivity suite, you’re in.
While this scenario doesn’t offer the “best-of-breed” flexibility some hope for, the ecosystem approach has significant benefits. Aside from the advantages of being cloud-based, these productivity solutions offer a high level of internal integrative points among all of the tools. With Office 365, for example, you have an integrated ecosystem that facilitates workflow between Lync, SharePoint, Outlook and Office tools.
Once you’re hooked in correctly to the ecosystem, you’re ready to start reaping additional benefits from the investment. You barely have to invest in mobile apps, because companies like Microsoft, Google and Salesforce are already building apps and offering marketplaces for supporting functionalities. For example, if you’re on Office 365, you have multiple apps to choose from that connect your phone to your digital workplace, without your IT team having to build something. One potential drawback, however, is that where you were once able to tailor on-premises software, it may be harder to customize for your own processes and procedures in the cloud.
In the end, switching to a cloud-based productivity tool shouldn’t require a major adjustment from what you’re used to using today. The biggest differences with using productivity tools like Office 365 are the extra features and integration that the platforms provide for the cloud. If this ecosystem-style platform fits within your security schema, it allows you to view and edit any document anywhere, from any device.