Cloud dominates Softworld

Clouds gathered at the latest Softworld Accounting and Finance exhibition,
but there was more silver lining than doom and gloom.

The big topic of discussion was cloud computing. What is it? What does it
mean for an FD of a business struggling to make ends meet? Is it the future, and
will it drive businesses forward?

A roundtable involving some of the UK’s pre-eminent software industry experts
on finance and accounting technology met to discuss the issues at hand.

Be sure of what you are signing up to when it comes to cloud computing, was
one of the main themes from the exchange.

Changing online technology is seen as the way to the future, but users have
to be sure before they consider implementation as this is a “new technology”,
said David Turner, Coda group marketing director.

“The reality is that this is a new type of technology and we will obviously
try to make it easier, but the reality is it is completely new technology”.

Bryan Richter, UK manager at Mamut, warned: “Make sure you know what you are
signing up for.

“Not all cloud providers are created equally.”

Turner said that, while online accountancy software currently accounts for
less than 5% of the “on-premise” market, it is growing.

Toby Davidson, director of professional services at NetSuite, the online
software provider, said there were three main categories cloud computing can
offer that on-premise can’t ­ flexibility, reduced costs and the ability to
manage and make the most from their business.

Richter advised that a company has to look at the functionality of a cloud
product before purchase.

He added: “Buy software on functionality not architecture.

“If it is available in the cloud then great, but don’t just buy software
[because it] is in the cloud.”

Roundtable chair and ICAEW IT faculty head Richard Anning said: “I was amazed
at the interest shown in our panel debate on cloud issues; it was literally
standing room only, which is an increasingly rare site these days. It shows that
cloud computing is increasingly moving mainstream.”

The panel included Toby Davidson, director of professional services at
NetSuite; Tim Knight, senior director of; David Turner, group
marketing director of CODA; and was chaired by ICAEW IT faculty head Richard

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