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I’m on the road again.  This week I’m in the United Kingdom, and from here to Las Vegas. Being on the road reminds you about the fragile nature of connectivity. I hit the ground in London, and fired up my netbook and my USB dongle for connectivity in the UK, and caught up on my mail. That dongle then didn’t work on my full laptop, and I had to switch to the other one. The other one didn’t work right on the netbook, and my laptop didn’t seem to like the hotel’s WiFi connection.  

On top of that, it’s expensive to connect sometimes. One of my two dongles here is paid based on usage – so if I download a lot, I run up a larger bill.

I have it just about straightened out now. My Skype conference call didn’t sound very good, but everything else has been good. The entire experience reminds me about bandwidth. I think I would be going insane if I had been using a “cloud based OS” on my machine and couldn’t do anything.

Cloud is on my mind a lot, and it’s not just due to flying. I see clearly the cloud coming quickly and taking control of a number of our basic service offerings. As I think more and more about cloud, however, I think clearly a hybrid model is going to be the most effective. I actively dislike my Gmail account because it’s not connected to anything when I’m offline. (Yes, I could attach it to Outlook, and just haven’t).

There is clearly an “on premise” piece to my own workflow. Without my in-hand machines, and their full, rich end-user experience, I’d be in pretty bad shape. What’s interesting is that in my role, I’m more like the average business user than a technician. I spent most of my day in email and in our CRM tool, and use Word, PowerPoint and Excel mostly. That’s rather typical of the average user.

Having a rich client experience, with data connections back to the “Evolve cloud” is the best of both worlds. I have the data I need here, synched and available, but central control, archiving, and data management.

As we move forward into a cloud world, understanding how people work and how prevalent data connections are, and the role of the individuals and the organization will be key to choosing the right solution for a customer. Cloud won’t be right for everyone, and that will be based on customer need.  

This is good news for people that have been doing solution-selling all along. Cloud solutions will become one good new option in the solution provider tool kit, and will likely be most successful as one of a larger solution set. I don’t see this being a “cloud only” play in most circumstances – even now, customers who say they are “cloud only” still have components that would be defined as “on premise,” if only in their workstations, laptops, and netbooks.

The cloud is coming. I’m very thankful for my own hosted solution that Evolve uses and sells in that my systems are as available to me here in London as they are back in my office in Washington. But I’m also really thankful my data is also here on my laptop. I’m missing my own connection to the Internet at home, which ranks behind my wife as the thing I miss second most. It’s fun to be on the road, but it’s better to be home. Reliability and stability of the system are much more responsive, and there’s nothing like home cooking and the smile of your wife to make the work worth it.

Dave Sobel is CEO of Evolve Technologies, a Maryland-based solution provider, and regular contributing columnist to Channel Insider.