The Cloud - clouding the issue?

Richard Messik
Outsourcing online accounting
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Ed's note: We took the liberty of adding the YouTube video above, which shows Richard posing his question to the Cloud panel at Softworld. Thanks to Dennis Howlett, who filmed the event.

I have just returned from Softworld. I went this year as, for the first time, it was highlighting Cloud Computing and there was obviously a great deal of interest in the topic.

There were a number of Masterclass presentations and it was good to see that the main one I attended - entitled Cloud computing: Where are the business benefits? - was extremely popular.

All good stuff, but....

There is a line in an old Carpenters song (I know that dates me!) which goes:"...we tried to talk it over but the words got in the way...". Listening to the panel of eminent speakers at this particular seminar brought that line very much to mind.

The subject was simple enough - what are the business benefits of Cloud Computing. However, left to the main Vendors that were speaking, the subject could just as easily been "Quantum physics for beginners". There were so many acronyms and jargon speak used that to the unitiated the topic was the most complicated issue.

And this, surely, is the point. Cloud Computing is on the cusp of something major, I am sure, and in a few years time most of us will probably be amazed that we ever used anything else. But the majority of potential users are not technically minded and are not really that interested in what is under the bonnet. They want to get in the car and drive knowing that it is going to get them from A to B safely.

The advantages of Cloud computing are really very simple and can be summed up thus:

1. It is more flexible
2. It enables 24/7 access - anytime anywhere.
3. It is generally cheaper
4. It reduces internal infrastructure costs and requirements
5. It facilitates collaboration and
6. It's greener.

If we leave "selling the cloud" to the vendors, the advantages will get lost in the jargon.

..The concept is basically very simple.. keep it that way.


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14th Oct 2009 22:06


Yes, but do you have sufficient bandwith on your ADSL for real-time data upload without unacceptable latency on VOIP connections through the network hub!!!!!

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By Hewson
16th Oct 2009 14:56

Cloud Accounting

How are data protection and client confidentiality issues covered?

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By Anonymous
16th Oct 2009 15:01

The other panel might have proved better

Online50 hosted a panel made up of Rob Lambden (Online50), myself (Hugh Scantlebury from Aqilla), Alan Wright from Liberty and Stephen Tucker from The Payroll Site.

From the feedback we had, the plain-speak responses to straightforward questions provided by the audience (chaired by Dennis Keeling) seemed to go down quite well. There was quite a lot of talk about everyday practical matters and the nice man from SAP BBD (Rob Verity) who sat in with the audience, even came up with quite a good car analogy as why culturally, the pace of change is the way it is at present. Great stuff.

However in speaking with many companies of late including visitors to Softworld,  it is pretty obvious there is still a big education exercise required to explain clearly why web based (SaaS) accounting is as great as we all believe it to be.

If everyone can try to achieve this without using much (if any) jargon, I agree it would be fine thing.

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