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Will The ‘Cloud’ Bring You Anything But Rain?

Article By Adam Hurwood | | Accounting & Tax
Throughout my working life, I have spent a lot of time researching, analysing, trialling, and implementing new systems, and new ways of operating those systems, with a view to finding and implementing the most efficient method of operating.

This is primarily why I was recruited for the role that I have here at Altitude, as working efficiently is the ultimate goal of not only every business, but should also be that of every individual – as the more efficient we are at work, the more time we have for the more enjoyable tasks that we have, whether they be in our personal or our professional life.

As one of the few technology specialists who never really bought in to the need to always have the newest shiny things with all the flashing lights, I find that I have a greater understanding of businesses and individuals who do not always want to change for the sake of change, but rather want to know that the benefits in the end will outweigh any pain involved in making a change.

Lately, this has been a real focus for a number of our Clients as well, with a lot of them being bombarded from every angle and being told how ‘Cloud Computing’ is the magic pill that will solve all of their issues they may have currently with Information Technology, and provide them with all of the efficiency gains that have been so elusive thus far.

Unfortunately though, this isn’t always the case. Offerings of Cloud based technology differ greatly – as do the providers who offer them – and this can leave some scratching their head wondering if they truly did get the best system to meet all of their various needs.

A common example of this at the moment is the war in online Accounting Systems. Xero, a Cloud only Accounting Software Provider, has been making tremendous inroads into the practical monopoly that MYOB has had on the Australian & New Zealand Accounting Software Industry with their very simple, yet effective system – and it has been doing it without ever making anyone walk into a Harvey Norman and shell out hundreds of dollars upfront for Software, a business model that MYOB itself is now adopting, as it too has realised that the sheer upfront cost of their Packages were causing people to buy it once, and then never upgrade it again.

MYOB has since clawed back some of the losses in their client base with the launch last year of their AccountRight Live offering – a hybrid product that leverages Cloud technology, but still provides Users with the similar MYOB look and feel without having to learn to navigate and use a totally new system. The primary benefit MYOB has over Xero for some Users is that because it is a Hybrid product, it does not require a continuous Internet Connection for you to use all of its functionality – which can be a real issue for nomadic users and those outside of the CBDs (or sometimes even very close to CBDs – but this article isn’t long enough to start talking about the woeful Internet service standards in this great country of ours).

As you can see, even just comparing those 2 offerings, there are some very big differences when it comes to how you are able/intending to use it – and we haven’t even mentioned other offerings from the non-market leaders such as SaaSU or QuickBooks. It is for this reason that you should begin any major systems review project by aligning yourself with unbiased industry professionals who truly understand your current situation and the way you operate, as well as having a clear direction on the goals that you are hoping to achieve from what could end up being quite a big change from what the way you are doigns things now. Getting the right advice upfront will make certain that this change is indeed for the better.

If you feel as though some of your business systems could do with a review and would like to discuss some of the many other factors to consider in the process, be sure to contact us.