It's The End of Desktop Software As We Know It!
Or is it? Will desktop software go the way of the horse and buggy, the phone booth, and non-reality show tv programming? Why is this even a question, for that matter? Have things really changed that much?
The Rise of the (Mobile) Machines
In the great, gray mists of the late twentieth century, large, bulky desktop systems walked the Earth, and held dominance. These days, not so much. Computers have become smaller, and with the advent of secure wireless technology, more and more people are taking their computing on the road. The ubiquitous PC or Mac is now being supplanted by tablets, PDA's, smart phones, even wearable computers. With desktop computers being pushed out of the spotlight, how much longer will it be necessary to provide traditional software for them?
SaaS. It looks like an acronym for some sort of elite Special Forces unit, but in fact stands for Software as a Service. With SaaS, software is hosted on a cloud; there is no physical software purchased by the client. As a subscription-based license, it's cheaper and easier to use. SaaS also offers more scalability, instant updates, and easy access.
And if the concept of SaaS isn't enough, there are numerous businesses online that can handle various business functions that would otherwise be done by purchasing software and running it yourself. For instance, small businesses can purchase financial software and handle their own accounts receivable, or they can use online invoicing and let someone else handle it. Problem solved.
Good Riddance, Maybe?
Seriously, when was the last time a desktop application took the world by storm? The world of computing is characterized by constant change. We must always move forward, embrace innovation, and leave the old guard behind, right? Apps and SaaS tend to be cheaper than traditional desktop software, and require less hardware to run them. Furthermore, the service provider is handling maintenance. So, let's see: with this logic in mind, it stands to reason that, by comparison, desktop software is more expensive, requires specific hardware to run it, and needs maintenance. This is a no-brainer, right?
So, Is The Desktop Dead, Jim?
Not so fast. First of all, desktops stand a good chance of being around for years to come. Not everyone is enamored with mobile computing, and some are concerned enough about data security that they prefer to keep with the more traditional computing methods.
Furthermore, although SaaS is the emerging darling of the business world, it's not without its flaws. A client relying solely on SaaS better have a very good Internet connection, because no web means no cloud-based applications . And there is that nagging bugaboo about security. With a desktop system linked to an in-house network, security is tighter. With your data drifting out there in a cloud, it's more vulnerable.
So, for now anyway, while it's true that mobile computing is taking its toll on the traditional desktop, it's safe to assume that the words of Mark Twain hold true: Reports of the death of desktop software are greatly exaggerated.