Thursday, June 28, 2012

BIG’s Blog: First Apple, then Amazon, then Microsoft and now Google

This last week Google launched a tablet.

Apple’s iPad was the first tablet, a new category in personal communication and computing devices. The iPad was followed by Amazon’s Kindle e-Reader… not really a tablet but similar technology. Then Microsoft launched a tablet, and now Google.

When the tech heavyweights are building and selling their own hardware/software tablet, you’ve got to stop and ask yourself, “What’s going on here?”

While it is not a surprise for Apple, who after all is a device manufacturer, but when Microsoft and Google, who are primarily known as software and search, respectively begin developing, manufacturing, and selling their own branded tablet, it is surprising to say the least.

So, what’s really going on here?

My take is that all these tech heavyweights are coming out with their own tablet devices because they  realize HOW FAST COMPUTING AND COMMUNICATIONS IS MOVING TO THE CLOUD.

The Cloud is the amorphous Internet-connected, server-based virtual platform where all software and software-based applications (Facebook, Spotify, Pinterest etc.) reside.

The “install” model of loading and hosting your own software on your own machines is quickly giving way to Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), a browser-accessible computing and application model.


Because it is easier to access and integrate all Cloud-based platforms?

Yes, but primarily because it is waaaaaay less expensive!

Rather than buying and hosting your own applications on-site, you now essentially rent them. It is a different business model for those selling software, services and applications. For instance, instead of paying up front $750,000 for a donor management system… you pay a monthly fee of $5,000.

Fifteen years ago the cost-of-entry to being a nonprofit fundraiser targeting a national audience was significant. Even starting small but aspiring to raise several million dollars was a half-million dollar investment in your basic technology infrastructure and advertising costs.

Not today.

While established fundraising organizations continue to focus on their dying direct mail, start-up nonprofits (think Charity Water) employ online-based management and communication systems and platforms,  and eschew direct mail to only promote through the Internet. And it isn’t just Charity Water but hundreds … even thousands of fundraising organizations rely solely on Cloud-based systems to manage their donor interactions and use only the Internet to promote their cause.

So what’s the take-away for fundraisers at established organizations?

Do you really think these tech heavyweights would be plowing billions into these new tablet devices if they weren’t certain that people like you and me would be buying and … more importantly … using them to access all manner of things in our lives including who we donate to through the Cloud?

You need to take these signals seriously and re-think fundraising infrastructure and communications for future donors.


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