When it comes to computer software applications, in many ways we have come full-circle since the mainframe days of the 1960s and 1970s. Back then, corporate information was housed in central locations with strict rules for access and modifications. To use the applications, we used “dumb terminals”, whose job was nothing more than displaying information and accepting user data.
When the personal computer revolution came, much more power was given to individuals so that mainframe computers were no longer needed for simple tasks, such as word processing for example. This allowed for huge productivity improvements because it reduced the dependency on the IT department for anything other than centralized systems, such as billing or inventory control.
But then “islands of productivity”, as we called them, emerged with no central control, very little security, and no sharing of corporate data. The first step towards solving this problem was to implement local area networks which connected personal computers together and allowed for sharing of information.