It’s getting Cloudier

Last week, I was asked at short notice to speak at one of the sessions at the Finance Directors Summit held at Hook in Hampshire. I was asked to speak and chair a discussion on the future of mobile computing and the cloud and in a room of about 30 FD’s from varying sizes of corporations I was able to pontificate for an hour on my favourite subject.

My audience was attentive and interested and the questions raised were not tinged with the scepticism that is so often apparent when the subject of the Cloud is raised. These guys got it, and whilst they were not all necessarily convinced they could see the merits in the argument. What a refreshing change that was! In fact at the lunch break (and it was a very nice lunch) I was talking to the FD of a rapidly growing software development company who told me that thay had moved all of their IT processes into the Cloud some eighteen months ago and since then profitability had rocketed. “Our developers no longer need to worry about how to rollout their software applications” she explained, “they can now concentrate on the development”.

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In the Sunday Times this week there was an article written by Microsoft’s Scott Dodds entitled “Time to get your head in the cloud”. The article was about the number of companies in the Sunday Times’s Tech Track 100 which were either supplying Cloud services or had taken advantage of them. In his article he says:

“…Indeed, for the first time, cloud computing and managed hosting firms feature strongly in the Tech Track 100, accounting for 16 places. It is interesting to see that a further five ventures offer cloud services alongside their main products, and many more have said they will consider expanding into the sector….”

A few other interesting tit bits from the same article:

“Microsoft believes…… that British firms will double spending on Cloud services to £1.2 billion by 2012”

and….

“Gartner forecasts that a fifth of all the Fortune 1,000 companies will have scrapped their own IT equipment entirely – and by 2014 the cloud computing sector will be worth several billion pounds” (my emphasis)

Pretty impressive stuff by anyone’s standard and a strong indication that the Cloud industry is really going to be a force to be reckoned with in the next year.

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Perhaps from the sublime to the ridiculous – on Friday I am going to a seminar hosted by the Institute of Chartered Accountants, grandly titled “Cloud Computing for Accountants”. I don’t have high expectations for this as my experience with the accountancy profession generally on the subject has been akin to explaining the principals of jet powered flight to a stone age caveman. A bit unfair perhaps and the fact that the Institute have organised this conference is definitely a step in the right direction. I will report back.