Cloud computing will alter landscape

When online business applications were first introduced, there was a
dismissive air as to how much use accounting professionals would glean from

Finally, ten years later, a white paper finds that it is set to become a
£10bn industry, and acceptance from businesses is imminent.

Using online applications, or cloud computing as it is more commonly known,
has recently hit the headlines as traditional software providers toy with the
idea of entering the market, while businesses appear firmly divided on whether
or not it will prove to be an advantage or an unnecessary risk to their company.

The latest white paper, The development of web-based acccounting by
Aqilla, shows that online software is continuing to grow, highlighting IT
analysts Gartner’s prediction that in the next 12 months we are likely to see a
spike in the industry with the market expanding by two thirds to $16bn (£9.6bn)
by 2013.

Around four-fifths of finance professionals use web-based applications at
work, with a third using HMRC’s online tax return function.

Benefits include simplified contracts, low cost of deployment and usually a
more intuitive interface to work with.

Although in every advancement of the software industry there are the pros and
cons, such as those that questions its large scale use for big business, there
is usually a
step change in take-up when a big player emerges to give the much-debated
technology its backing.

As one of the biggest telecom brands in the world, BT might make the SME
business market sit up and take notice.

BT recently signed a deal with Xero, the online accountancy software
providers, to supply its products to their SME customers. BT will offer all the
support, maintenance and integration as part of the deal.

‘We’re serious about the cloud, and we don’t just attribute our brand to
anything willy nilly,’ says Chris Lindsay, general manager for broadband and so
ftware for businesses at BT.

He adds: ‘Cloud is going to transform the way businesses in the UK work and
will prove a good return on investment.’

Stefan Reid, an IT analyst with Forrester, says that ‘it is not merely a
matter of if cloud computing will be adopted but how fast’.

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