Without doubt, one of the key business benefits of cloud computing is the realization of anywhere, anytime access.  This essentially means that you can access your same personalized view and data from your office computer, your home computer, your friend’s computer or an airport kiosk.  Typically the only requirement is a commonly supported internet browser such as IE, Firefox, Chrome or Safari.

Recently I had the pleasure of visiting San Francisco amid the frenzy of Apple’s iPad launch.  Whilst I was there I tried to buy one, but apparently they cant make them fast enough.   A few days later, I was asked to attend a meeting with a colleague of mine who was lucky enough to be the proud owner of a shiny new Apple iPad 3G model.   My colleague drove to the meeting, 30 minutes away, whilst I had the pleasure of examining the iPad in all of its glory.

Whilst Google maps and the built-in GPS cleverly navigated us to our destination, I went about examining how our corporate Netsuite system would behave in such an environment.   Using the standard Safari browser I was able to quickly login to the system and immediately see my dashboard in all of its glory.  I could see in real-time how we were tracking to our metrics for the quarter, and where we had work to do.  In a few gestures on the touch pad,  I drilled down into a couple of project records to examine particulars relating to the work we had performed to date, our customer’s level of satisfaction and the associated payment history.   In short, by the time we arrived at our destination I had completely caught up on my department’s progress, allocated action items to team members and identified some key metrics for presentation at the next day’s management meeting.

At that precise moment in time it became crystal clear to me that we are at a critical point in the technology roadmap.  For the first time we have what will no doubt become a mass-market device, always connected and operating in perfect harmony with those applications that depend only on a browser.   For the first time, cloud computing has the perfect mobile partner.   

Both the iPad and cloud computing platforms such as NetSuite offer the business user a low-cost of entry with an extremely high level of functionality and relevance to the way people go about their business today.   I am sure that this is just the tip of the iceberg, but for the time being I don’t think you could find a better couple.