The Future of Software is Online

….not my words, but those of Microsoft on the launch of their new online application Office 365. The cynical amongst us might say that Microsoft have taken an “if you can’t beat them, join them approach” as they begin to appreciate the major impact that Google Apps has had on the online segment, but I for one welcome their entry into the Cloud. The market is really hotting up.

When a major player such as Microsoft makes such a commitment to the Cloud, it sends a message that this is now the way forward and is no longer exclusively for the techno early adopters.

What is now needed, especially in the professional services market, is for those software developers who have hitherto only written for the desktop, to embrace the cloud and develop their applications for it…. Why is there no cloud enabled tax software for example?

The market place is changing, and whilst I have in the past bemoaned the slow take-up by accountants, it is now the turn of the software market to up the ante and, as our American cousins would say, go with the programme.

As for the accounting market, there has been a major sea change in response, even over the last few months. I have just returned from conferences in Cyprus and Finland where I have been presenting to international associations and the level of interest has been amazing.

So we are now starting a new chapter in the Cloud saga….. I for one can’t wait to see how it turns out.

The Tipping point

Sitting in my aircraft seat , waiting for takeoff on my latest E-conomic trip (more of that later), I am reflecting on the Cloud journey that has occurred over the last twelve months or so. I predicted that 2011 would be the year of the Cloud and I have seen nothing that changes my view.

Apart from the numerous articles and adverts that one sees in most business orientated journals and newspapers, Microsoft’s major move to Cloud environments and numerous other major Cloud announcements, there has been a definite groundswell of demand for more information on cloud related applications. The online accounting market has never been more competitive.

At a recent demontration of E-conomic to a top 30 practice, the comment was made that they had been asked so many times by clients about their Cloud services that they realised that they had to act. And they will not be alone in this.

Every new concept or idea has it’s tipping point – the point in time when general acceptance of the concept becomes the norm. For the Cloud, it has been a long time coming but I have no doubt it has arrived.

So now the emphasis needs to shift – the discussion going forward will be less of should a move to the Cloud be made and more of what applications should be used – as indeed it should be. Cloud application providers will need to concentrate on their service offerings. Applications need to be at least equal to, if not superior to their desktop counterparts.

The Cloud will no longer be seen as an eccentric alternative to the mainstream – it will be the mainstream and business use and demands will adapt accordingly.

The demand for information on the subject continues to increase – over the next few weeks, I have the opportunity of speaking to a number of diverse international associations on the subject of the Cloud in places as diverse as London, Cypus and Finland ( I have travelled more over the last six months than for years previous!), I shall report on these trips in due course.

Well, now time for me to sit back and enjoy the flight – ironically it is a Cloudless sky!