Some of our team attended the recent ATSA technology conference conference (see Leah’s quick debrief for more) and they noted just how many of the session descriptions included the word “cloud.” A rough back-of-the-envelope calculation suggests that over 70% of the sessions were focused on what is clearly a hot topic. This is really awesome, as many more businesses are starting to realise the benefits that cloud-based applications can deliver. The prevalence of cloud at the ATSA conference lends weight to MYOB CEO Tim Read’s recent comments (video) that we are approaching mainstream adoption of cloud-based applications in the accounting world.
When looking over the program, we thought it was telling that our CEO Marc’s talk didn’t even mention cloud. Perhaps from a marketing perspective this was a missed opportunity, but I think this is reflective of our approach to cloud—we don’t see “cloud” as anything all that newsworthy anymore. For a lot of people, they’re just looking for the best tool to do the job they need done, and the boundaries between what’s on and offline is increasingly becoming irrelevant (i.e. with so much online nowadays, it’s often not considered “unusual.”) Tim mentioned this in his interview—many people don’t even know they’re using the cloud.
When you look past the hype about “being in the cloud” you begin to notice the deeper shifts at work, shifts that go beyond the delivery mechanism and speak to fundamental changes in the way we work. In my view, these changes are redefining what “workplace” means. In fact, the very nature of being “at work” is changing, prompted by the flexibility inherent in an “always on internet”, multi-device world.
This is the where we can really start to unlock the business value of cloud-enabled work practices—representing an exciting area of exploration. At Saasu we see a lot of opportunity in how people are using these technologies to redefine the way they collaborate, capture and collect information, visually interpret and interact in their work, in an “authentically digital” way, to borrow a phrase from Microsoft. Shane Morris provides a great overview (video) of what this means from a design perspective; another good overview at Mashable.
Regardless of whether this is a significant transition point, or just a smaller evolution, it’s something that we’re very excited to be a part of. We’re really looking forward to the new innovations, and more importantly the benefits to business owners and their teams. How these technologies and approaches to working are providing significant value to businesses of all shapes and sizes is really what’s newsworthy. We hope that this doesn’t get lost in the race to join the cloud.