in 1980 the oil company i worked for in saudi arabia had a large mainframe based ibm system with remote terminals, the data was stored centrally and everyone could log on to a terminal at whatever office had one and get their data and run their programs. we had a large central IT dept. that was expensive, secretive, slow to respond to users and no control.
when the pc came out right about then (s100 buss home-brews to start), and lotus/symphony, along with microsoft's basic and fortran, we had local data and backup systems, locally developed 'programmes' (spreadsheets, etc.) and with ms word, a text processor, and with local printers, we no longer depended on the remote connection to a group of IBM 'suits' with blue ties at the main office. with a pc modem (i had a 300 baud high speed
) we could even call up and exchange stuff on dialup bulletin boards worldwide. or even connect to the ibm mainframe and run a terminal emulator.
the IT suits hated it, resisted it, and their loss of central control and made the lives of those who embraced the new technology difficult, but as i proved, a program we developed in our section in symphony to provide monthly project reports for our engineering teams cost us well less than a tenth of the cost to produce, was tailored to the project manager's requirements, and could be run whenever the project manager wanted. even had graphics and pie charts. the mainframe version was cumbersome, did not produce reports directly, data entry was touchy - and had to be adjusted manually to fix errors from the projects which could cause the program generating the reports to fail, this took over three days by my staff, then it was run in a batch job queue along with the other jobs, such as the monthly accounts, which had priority. it eventually produced 13 shopping carts of printouts that had to be collected from the main office, broken up into sets and delivered to the appropriate project teams. each team got 7 copies, because each team ALWAYS had gotten 7 copies, they never asked the teams how many they needed. the project managers hated it, but the central computer people couldn't bother to actually find out what the end users really needed, they gave them what they thought was best for them.
when i took over the it section in engineering i initially went around asking how many copies each project team actually needed and cut down the number such that only 4 carts were needed. we then developed the symphony spreadsheet that would replace the cumbersome MarkIV system, by actually consulting the project managers and seeing how they worked and what data and formats they needed for their monthly reports, which after we finished they could run at their whim. they loved it.
the mainframe types vowed revenge, and swore they'd go back to a centrally managed system with remote users dependent on using their otherwise dumb terminals that ran programs virtually on the central office mainframe and stored all the data there, so they did not have to leave their air-conditioned offices, did not need to deal with end users,and could go back to developing applications with large teams of programmers and expensive budgets, charging the end users for the time they spend using the one-size-fits-all solution that the central computer dept dictates.
we are almost back to that with this 'cloud' baloney.