Is Cloud for only for the S part of SME? | AccountingWEB

Is Cloud for only for the S part of SME?

Hi Everybody,

I am new to the discussion group, and a common thread appears in everything I have read.

It appears all the discussions revolve around small enterprises and their requirements. Absolutely nothing wrong with that, I work for a small organisation. Does this relflect a view amongst the profession that "Cloud Accounting" is not yet ready for medium and larger sized enterprises? If so Why?

listerramjet's picture


listerramjet | | Permalink

more likely it reflects the interests of those that post on here.  But SME is a relatively meaningless acronym!!!

Hugh Scantlebury's picture

No, not at all.

Hugh Scantlebury | | Permalink


No not at all. It's just that the majority by number of businesses in the UK are SOHO / SME businesses.

There is another tier of organisations, which we refer to as "Capital M' SME mid-market businesses which are also adopting Cloud solutions (why wouldn't you in this day and age?) now in some numbers.

Such businesses obviously require a more sophisticated range of functionality that goes beyond basic book-keeping and that is exactly what our product, Aqilla does.

Find out more here



david_terrar's picture

Like Hugh, no not at all

david_terrar | | Permalink

The product I partner with Twinfield has many M customers, such as EB - a Finnish spin off from Nokia. They use SAP at HQ, but Twinfield in 26 different sales/distribution offices in different countries around the world and also to consolidate all those results in to the HQ ledger. I'm sure e-conomic our Danish competitor has similarly large International businesses. In addition, how about Workday... They have some very large M sized companies heading towards the E for Enterprise. Cloud accounting can definitely go large.
David Terrar

Richard Messik's picture

I agree

Richard Messik | | Permalink

The Cloud is for everyone S to E. As my David quite rightly says, both Twinfield and E-conomic have many very large companies successfully using their cloud offerings.

Hosted Desktop UK's picture

Cloud is for all SME's

Hosted Desktop UK | | Permalink

At the Microsoft UK Hosting Day on 08/05/2012, one of the speakers from Parallels showed a slide on market research in the UK that SMB's (micro SMB 1-9 employees) Small SMB (10-49 employees) and Medium SMB's (50-250 employees) the Hosted Infrastructure penetration is 17% overall, with Medium SMB's reporting 36% using Hosted Servers i.e. the larger end of the SMB maket with 50 to 250 employees.

Micro SMB had 12% and Small SMB had 26% Hosted penetration.

Overall, Parallels see SMB's replacing in-house servers with hosted servers and anticpate the that the opportunity could be aroudn 850,000 server replacements with hosted servers in the near term.

Steve Thorns

Source:Parallels Practical Guidance for 2011 at the Microsoft UK Hosting Day on 08/05/2012 in London.

garyturner's picture

Easier for smaller businesses

garyturner | | Permalink

Related thing I wrote a while back.

Gary Turner
Managing Director, Xero

david_terrar's picture

On cloud as a weapon and hosted servers

david_terrar | | Permalink


Definitely agree with the underlying sentiment - Cloud can help small business challenge the big guys.  


@Hosted Desktop/Steve,

Great to have those numbers, but you open us up to some Hosted Server vs Cloud Computing debate.  But let's have that on another thread some other time and not here please?

David Terrar

(aka Richard Messik's David)

D2C and Cloud Advocates

It depends how you define the "cloud"

brent | | Permalink

If you look at it from afar, all the "cloud" is is a remote server hosting your application and data.

Big enterprises call this remote desktop, or terminal services or citrix or whatever.

I have clients who have been in "the cloud" by their definition for longer than they remember - they define their cloud as their servers hosted by someone else who takes care of keeping them running and access to their various offices and mobile staff.

Sounds a lot like Xero etc... just the functionality is somewhat different.

Just another thought on the cloud.

Definition of Cloud ...

JC | | Permalink

A lot really depends on whether ones definition of Cloud is an extension of the progression of ASP, SaaS, Cloud
If it is part of this chain then that in turn disqualifies all sorts of other approaches that have acquired Cloud status; so citrix, hosted etc are all disqualified. Call them whatever one wants but not Cloud

Otherwise, why not include client server and any other random architecture that remotely fits the bill; after all Cloud has become a marketing hook, to be redefined at will according to what product is being sold at the time ?

Of course the ultimate is to call Sage Line 50 'Cloud' - think about it, because once you start redefining things to fit your own agenda then the term becomes devalued !

david_terrar's picture

Shift this to another thread

david_terrar | | Permalink

I reckon Steve's topic of whether cloud is just for the S is a great one to debate and hear a mix of views on....  

On the whole Cloud vs Hosted and what really is Cloud - I reckon we should start another thread and those that are interested can bat it about there.  Those that aren't (Gary T, Dennis H, etc. can let us play there to our hearts content).  Just a few things to set the scene though:

  • The marketplace is muddied by every provider re-branding whatever solution they have that runs across the web and sits somewhere in a data centre as "The Cloud" even when it's not - does that matter?  (let's answer that in the other thread)  
  • The Cloud Industry Forum is just in the process of pulling together some resources for their website to address this very issue.  One of them will be a "plain English" version of the NIST Cloud definitions, which I would argue are the best thing we've got as a set of words that the industry could all agree on.
  • Richard Messik and myself are just working on a plain English cloud guide - we'll try and accelerate what we are doing.

See you on the other thread.

David Terrar

D2C and Cloud Advocates

Intersting and varied input

Steve Rollisson | | Permalink

Intersting and varied input from everybody.

My question related to true Saas accounting or ERP applications, specifically developed as hosted applications. Apps like Brightpearl, Kashflow seem to be on the front page and growing like topsy. In the mid market Netsuite seems to have a stable base around 12,000 users and the SAP application Business ByDesign seems to be getting a foothold. But the number seem small when compared to products like Sage and the Dynamics range which measure in X 00,000's each.

All the major players including Oracle are on the Bandwagon. However I still do not see anybody grabbing and dominating that 25-100 user plus market. Why? is still the primary question.

Apologies for not knowing about products like Twinfield and Acquila, first I had heard of them.

I am probably with David about Cloud being a confusing term. Many established software providers are sticking a web front end on their application and calling it a cloud solution. To me it is still on on premise ERP that is hosted. Bit like the old days of windows front end, everybody had a Windows version within 9 months. Most were simply "lipstick on a pig",

I think the end user needs some help understanding what is a true SaaS ERP application, and which are lipstick jobs.

garyturner's picture

Lipstick on a dog?

garyturner | | Permalink

The lipstick thing is interesting.

Applied to software development, it used to (applied metaphorically to a pig) only refer to the technical purity of an app, in reference to the act of 'reheating' old tech with a fresh front end to give the impression of it being contemporary. However, the issue today is a little broader in the context of the cloud in that the ongoing capability and reliability of the provider is now more critical than in the days of MS-DOS or Windows app development.

"On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog.",_nobody_knows_...

Gary Turner
Managing Director, Xero

Lipstick indeed?

brent | | Permalink

garyturner wrote:
The lipstick thing is interesting.

Yep, because at the end of the day, you don't know what the underlying connection is run on. I have seen "SaaS" and cloud stuff that was effectively just a remote desktop session "with lipstick"

So was that cloud or not...

For sure the definitions get muddied... but in a way that is how technology progresses

garyturner's picture

I meant beyond just the technical definition..

garyturner | | Permalink the processes, discipline and people behind the service, not just how the software is delivered.

Like inadequate backup processes, badly configured servers, unqualified staff, poor security, unchecked staff with access to customer data.

Gary Turner
Managing Director, Xero

Got one of my Answers today! Cloud fits the E part of SME also

Steve Rollisson | | Permalink

Joined in a press conference on line this pm.

SAP have put their recently acquired Successfactors onto the Business ByDesign app. They had to, because Successfactors used Netsuite. All 1200 users now live and running across 4 continents from a true cloud app.

SAP also announced a 2000 user order undisclosed (under NDA), but considering their public listing and extreme adherence to compliance, you just have to beleive it.

So there we have it: Cloud for S M and E.

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