The Cloud – my take on 2009

It is hard to believe that we are almost at the close of the first decade of the new millenium – it seemed like yesterday that we were panicking about the millenium bug and preparing for the armageddon that would surely follow.

The Web, came into its own and with it the dot com boom  – and bust – and the internet pioneers who became billionaires. The Internet and all of its good and bad points became an essential part of everyday living and to do without it now would be like not having a television or a telephone (an attractive proposition to some, no doubt!).

But what of The Cloud – and how did that progress during 2009 and what its prospects for the coming year.
Much has been written about the Cloud during 2009 – The Sunday Times gave it a 4 page write up in one of its colour suplements – and Accounting Web devoted a full day conference to the subject. Softworld for the first time had a dedicated Cloud section and provided a number of seminars to the subject. Even the traffic on Twitter on the topics of the Cloud and SaaS grew exponentially.

The introduction of the Net Book (a cut down laptop) prompted the launch of internet based operating systems such as Jolicloud and Google announced the forthcoming launch of its Chrome internet based operating system which some commentators believe will be a direct challenge to Microsoft.

There were a number of high profile announcements that major industries and city councils both in the States and here, have moved to Google Applications from Microsoft Office. The popularity of the Iphone and its WiFi capabilities prompted numerous copycats and Internet based services.

Despite the frustrations and luddite opinions, 2009 was, in many respects, a pivotal year as far as The Cloud and online accounting (I still prefer that term) was concerned. There are now some 40 different online accounting solutions on the market and the industry is rapidly reaching adolescence if not maturity.

There is still a long way to go and as I quoted in a previous blog… 2009 might be considered to be the end of the beginning. I forsee that 2010 will bring further maturity to the market and the accountancy profession is going to be distinctly divided between the adopters and the not interested… and it is going to be the adopters that benefit form the advantages of service delivery and innovative solution provision. More forward thinking clients are going to demand online accounting as part of their requirements and it is going to be the equally forward thinking accountants who are going to benefit from this – I won that assignment, by the way!

Saas providers will continue to innovate and improve their service offerings – I spent an interesting day with the Technical Director of E-conomic looking at their plans for next year which are very exciting – with the added benefit that the improvements and enhancements will just appear in the browser with out the need for update disks and the necessity to have different PC’s running different versions of the software.

I wish everyone with their head in the clouds a successful and innovative 2010!