(Cloudy) Reflections on a conference

I had a busy couple of days last week – on Wednesday I chaired one of the morning sessions at the 3rd Cloud Computing World Forum at Olympia and on Thursday I led one of the breakout sessions at the Accountancy Age Best Practice conference. Both were enjoyable and interesting experiences.

The Cloud Computing World Forum was attended by over 3,000 visitors over the two day period – next year they are going to hold the event at Earls Court to cope with the growing numbers of visitors. All of the various conference sessions were standing room only and the exhibition area and stands were very busy. The tone of the conference was essentially of a technical nature and most of the exhibitors were the suppliers of the technology that enables the Cloud to function – PAAS and IAAS to us the current acronyms.

But that in itself is not the point. What was relevant was the following:

1. This was the third Cloud Computing conference and

2. It was very well and enthusiastically attended and

3. The organisers are having to find a bigger venue for next years conference.

What this emphasises as far as I am concerned, is that this is not a passing fad – what it is, is a multi billion (yes billion) dollar industry and like it or not it is here to stay. One of the most telling comments of the day was from Microsoft – quote “…currently 70% of Microsoft software engineers are working on Cloud applications – by the end of the year it will be 90%”

There is not a lot that needs to be added to that!

Thursday’s conference was of a different nature entirely. Attended mainly by accountants in practice, it covered a wide range of issues including using social media for business. The forum that I led was on the use of mobile technology and how it can enhance operating efficiency. It was a lively and enthusiastic session and whilst there was still reluctance from some of the attendees to Cloud operations there were plenty more who were ready to embrace it and many who were already using it to a greater or lesser extent.

It was interesting to see how many iPads were in evidence which in itself is an indication that, slowly, the profession is catching on to the advantages of mobile and by association cloud technology. There is still a long way to go however and the profession as a whole will be forced to catch up with the Cloud sooner or later…it is inevitable.

No longer will they be able to adopt a policy of masterly inactivity  or indeed the usual IT department approach to new technology:

Plan A …….. Ignore it

Plan B …….. Resist it!