Internet/Telecom/Social Media

The Skypeness – blip … blip … blip … beeeeeeeeeeee

What a difference 24 hours makes. Millions of people, hundreds of thousands of businesses, have been out of contact. Skype went offline.

Skype declares in their blog, Heartbeat, that it was the result of an algorithm failure rather than of any nefarious activities. OK. However, that’s not the point.

The point is the unassailable belief that DotCom, and especially that amorphous gathering of peer services known as web 2.0, can do no wrong has taken a hit.

Blogging is fun. Facebook and Myspace may even be fun (I’m told). But there aren’t that many Internet-based services that have become part of the infrastructure of “doing business” the way telephones, electricity and water are. Yet not for want of trying. Many Enterprise 2.0 companies (like Skype, but also Google’s ever expanding range of web applications, and Salesforce.com) have demanded that companies give up their desktop software and migrate online.

They give many fine reasons for doing so. From regular software updates, to outsourced maintenance, and increased reliability.

Many companies observing the mayhem of Skype’s last 24-hours are going to be thinking, “Nice in principle, but not yet stable enough for me.”

Consider a worst-case scenario. A major insurance company gives up on their SAP or Oracle systems and places their trust in Salesforce. Instead of their own servers and redundant systems they rely on an Internet-based system. Then a hurricane hits and thousands of people call simultaneously to check their policies just as the Internet experiences a glitch.

Blip … blip … blip … beeeeeeeeeeeeee

2 replies »

  1. Great point, Gavin, and maybe this is a big part of why I’m not really keen on migrating my life into things like Google docs. I’m a big fan of desktop-resident applications, even for things like e-mail (Thunderbird rules!)

    That said, Web 2.0/social media does have considerable emerging value for companies (I just did a big preso at a Fortune 50 a few days ago on this very subject), but those applications should NEVER put the business at the mercy of the kinds of issues you note here. And I’ll tell my clients that, too.

  2. I will always keep my data on my own storage. Online services do have their uses, but due to the inherent problems with putting all your eggs in a basket you don’t own, I’ll stick with non-online programs and services for my important work.

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