Technology is changing at a fast pace, and nowhere is this more true than in the area of web applications. Organizations that use online applications to help grow their business may feel besieged by the ways in which deployment and use of these programs is rapidly shifting from traditional desktop and laptop to PCs to new devices such as tablets and cell phones. In addition, the proliferation of such devices and the demand for consumer-friendly apps has created an environment in which apps can be customized for many different classes of user. This, of course, only tends to increase the challenges of web app management.
Businesses organizations are used to dealing with complexities related to core competencies. Handling complexities that arise from the influx of IT solutions on the market, both free and paid, is another issue completely. IT administrators are now in the position of needing to sort out the various collaboration applications and file-sharing products that are widely available via the World Wide Web.
When business managers think of IT consulting, what comes to mind is most likely IT solutions that make use of laptops, desktops, and servers; in other words, traditional computers. While this type of IT consulting is still the dominant form, it is by no means the only one. In today's mobile world, computing devices are smaller than ever before and frequently go by other names. The Android smart phone is an example of such a device.
One of the most exciting developments in the world of cloud computing is the opportunity for businesses to create their own cloud-based applications to handle data and workflow more efficiently. A variety of platforms can be leveraged to accomplish this. Two such platforms that are gaining in popularity in recent months are Elastic Cloud Compute (EC2), an Amazon offering, and the Google App Engine, which is currently available in preview form.
An announcement at the Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show this month excited the IT consulting world with its possibilities. Microsoft, maker of the Xbox, announced that the launch of Xbox Kinect for Windows PCs is slated for the beginning of February. Already, several different companies including Toyota, Mattel Toys, and Boeing are writing applications that will make use of Kinect technology once it becomes fully available for the PC interface.
Anyone who has worked extensively in Microsoft Office products such as Microsoft Word or Microsoft Excel may well have encountered the huge advantage to be garnered from recording and using macros. These are small programs that can be executed from within Office applications in order to automate tasks that are performed on a frequent basis. One possible use of a macro, for example, is to take a text file created by a non-Microsoft application and strip it of extraneous data so that its contents can be easily transferred into a spreadsheet or other program.