It’s no news that fat-PC applications display the end result of two decades of feature creep. Cloud-based alternatives offer ease of access and lower costs of administration, but critics often focus on the cloud tools’ condensed feature sets compared to mainstream desktop/laptop suites.
Clear supremacy for the cloud is now emerging, though, in the form of superior integration among cloud-based tools (e.g., salesforce.com and Google Apps) and — probably even more important — both cloud-based and on-premise data sources (viz. today’s announcement from Informatica).
Completing the picture are the real-world examples of delivering these benefits with unheard-of speed, for example the two-week wonder of a CODA 2go integration with Google Spreadsheet using "a Visualforce-powered Google Gadget" — as described on the CODA 2go blog as well as in Anshu Sharma’s post here yesterday.
Talent, it’s been said, does what it can, while genius does what it must. (The reputed source of that quotation, for whatever it’s worth, is also famous for penning "It was a dark and stormy night.") To stay on topic, though, one might observe that fat-client PC applications (with undoubtedly talented development teams) have been "doing what they can": that is, adding the kinds of features that make use of abundant processing power and graphical interaction.
Cloud-based applications, in contrast, are giving users what they arguably must have, in the form of superior real-time collaboration and comprehensive tool and data integration. Sounds like genius to me.