Flexibility and business continuity advantages | AccountingWEB

Flexibility and business continuity advantages

This week's big freeze has provided an opportunity for Cloud Computing suppliers to promote the advantages of web-based applications. In Any Answers and our Bad weather business survival kit, Pearl Office have pointed out how their user logs show that customers are working as usual and I've had a series of press releases from the likes of ThinkGrid and Siemens that point out how Cloud and unified communications infrastructures enable workers to be productive even when they can't get to the office. (Some of the contributions below have now been incorporated into coverage over on BusinessCloud9.com - thanks all for your input).

Do you have any anecdotes or examples from the past week to illustrate these claims, and in what ways do Cloud applications support broader business continuity initiatives? The advantages have been self-evident to me over the past couple of days, but there are also downsides - as one accountant told us about losing his broadband connection for a short period yesterday.

DuaneJAckson's picture

Real Life

DuaneJAckson | | Permalink

I was talking to one of our partner accountants yesterday, having a moan about the weather. He commented that all his staff are working from home due to the snow. They can't work on any of the client accounts on their Sage system, but they're all happily plugging away on their KashFlow clients.

I commented how I'm too untrusting to let people work from home. He said he had no concerns there. The audit trail in KashFlow lets him see exactly what his staff have been doing on each client account, and when they did it.

We've avoided the "It's snow problem with SaaS" PR bandwagon this year, but I'm sure he'd be happy to have a chat if you were interested in writing it up

DuaneJAckson's picture

broader business continuity initiatives

DuaneJAckson | | Permalink

On the broader issues...

One of our other Partner accounts had their email and file server die on them. So no email and no access to local data.

Below is the email he sent me (from his AOL account!)

Our current situation has highlighted one thing.

Our server discs have been wrecked by power failures. We had a (dodgy) UPS attached to the server which didnt work. The sixth power outage did the damage.

We have currently had two days where none of our staff could effectively work and will have at least a further half a day, assuming that the drive can be copied and data repaired. We therefore have been unable to do any book keeping whatsoever, nor work on anyones accounts from Sage (server based). The only work we can do is on KashFlow. One up for SAAS!

Snow and Cloud

Anonymous | | Permalink

I have been keeping up to date with the snow falls but have to admit to be working in the sun.

However I have been working with Bob Niccoll at Remember The Ice with a project to launch a new community website for people using Empowering Word Choice.

It took 4 weeks from the first conversation with Bob in Alaska where there was a heap of snow, to launch. This included all the design and content for the first three months of the community website.

The RTI Community was launched on a platform from SubHub which is "in the Cloud", the project management was done on BaseCamp, the communication was done on Skype with video conferencing, and online demonstrations with DimDim.

People have been involved in this project from at least 5 different counties prior to launch, and at some point Bob suffered 30 inches of snowfall ( from memory ) and had online meetings after shovelling the snow in his drive.

And my invoice will be done on FreeAgent.

I did lose my connection at some point during the whole project, but had some back up and a BlackBerry which helps.

There are some disadvantages to the SAAS systems that have been chosen for this work, but most have work- arounds, or end up as unimportant. The benefits of having excellent suppliers that know their products and what they can do, resist the temptation to over promise, and firmly say no when they need to, has made this project an enjoyable one.

Snow and Cloud worked ok for me.


Inbound Marketing Consultant




stuartm.stiona.com's picture

Increase in activity

stuartm.stiona.com | | Permalink

We've noticed an slight increase in activity on Fusion Accounts over the last couple of days.  One user commented to a member of the support team that they were stuck at home and taking the opportunity to catch up on their bookkeeping as there was little else they could do!

garyturner's picture

Disaster recovery

garyturner | | Permalink

I spoke with a Xero partner yesterday who said their Xero users and clients have been largely unaffected by this week's disruption by being able to work from wherever they liked unlike those of their clients using on premise apps. It's an easy point for cloud vendors to score from that perspective.

But business continuity applies to a much wider audience than desk based 'knowledge workers' - if the delivery truck is stuck in snow on the M40, then there's not much that software of any flavour can do about that.

However, aside from some winter disruption real disasters do happen* - during my time as MD at Pegasus Software when the business was still publicly owned, our corporate governance obligations mandated that we had a comprehensive disaster recovery plan, complete with an alternate site to house our staff with systems all pre-loaded with all our servers, all our line of business apps frozen in amber and ready to be switched live once backups had been restored and ready to take over the running of the business to ensure seamless operation should the unthinkable happen. This was a major cost and undertaking that online applications can certainly mitigate massively.

* Not long after going public to private, Pegasus' new owners disposed of the disaster recovery facility - weeks later Pegasus' server room sat under four feet of water in the floods of 2007.  


daveforbes's picture

working from home

daveforbes | | Permalink

.... unfortunately my children were "working from home" too .... I was battling for bandwidth with Doctor Who and Gossip Girl.

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