By Richard Messik, Chartered Accountant and Co-founder of Cloud Advocates

Sitting recently in my aircraft seat , waiting for takeoff on my to a conference in Budapest, I was 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 demonstration of an online accounting system 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.

Richard Messik is a Chartered Accountant who specialises in Cloud Computing. He is a co founder of Cloud Advocates,an association of consultants who aim to demystify the Cloud and provide pragmatic help and advice for businesses, organizations and accounting practices. To find out more, visit http://cloudadvocates.com

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