KashFlow is different to a lot of other software products in that it’s accessed online, via a web browser as opposed to being installed on your computer.
As usual, the techie community have come up with lots of different names and acronyms for this kind of technology – Software as a Service (SaaS), Software + Services, On Demand Software, Application Service Providers (ASP), Web-based software, Cloud Computing.
The different terms seem to go in and out of fashion. Some of them do have slightly different meanings to others – but only subtle differences that us techies care about but consumers don’t.
Personally, my preffered term is probably “web-based software”. It’s a nice and simple does-what-it-says-on-the-tin type of label. And thankfully so far no one has started calling it W.B.S.
I don’t think my personal opinion is going to matter much though – I’m willing to bet that the term that will be most commonly used in the future will be “Cloud Computing”. For the pedantic techies amongst us it is actually a catch-all term for some of the other terms being used and for those that don’t care about the semantics, it’s a nice consumer-friendly label.
The BBC News at Ten ran a piece on web-based software a couple of weeks ago and the term they repeatedly used was Cloud Computing. Microsoft and Google got name-checked, but no mention of KashFlow (I’ll have to have a word with our PR bods about how that could possibly have happened!).
I was speaking to someone the other day that uses the term cloud computing and he surprised me by confessing that he didn’t know where the phrase came from.
Pretty much since the dawn of the Internet, any diagram of networks connected to the Internet looked like this:
The Internet is too complex to draw a detailed diagram of, so it was always represented by a cloud. Or as wikipedia puts it:
The cloud is a metaphor for the Internet and is an abstraction for the complex infrastructure it conceals
The computers that run web-based software like KashFlow are situated in the cloud – hence the term cloud computing.