Recently the UK Government announced that 'end-of-year' tax returns will be scrapped in favour of 'real-time' on-line accounts. This policy change, which is being promoted as revolutionary, is aimed at negating the end-of-year rush for both individuals and small businesses. The shift will for many, start as early as 2016.
In short, for the Finance sector, as in other areas of business, the Cloud is helping to commoditise or at least digitise practices and policies; introducing an on-line commonality and comparative landscape for all types of business. What do we think this means?
In 2009 Softwerx attended the (Microsoft) World Partner Conference in New Orleans, where Steve Ballmer (the then Microsoft CEO) announced that 90% of the software engineers at Microsoft we're already (only) developing cloud-orientated software and services – and this was going to change the face of industry – starting with IT companies and infrastructure first. Fast-forward five years and indeed IaaS (Infrastructure-as-a-Service) has transformed the way business procure and deploy their IT Systems. The key and fundamental point though is there are now simply many more options. IaaS can be on-Premise, on Public Cloud or on a Private Cloud – and normally is a combination of all three (Hybrid).
The impact on the Finance Sector will (we think) be more straightforward. SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) Market Leaders such as Adaptive, Quickbooks, Kashflow and Zero will raise the bar in terms of the immediacy that the Cloud can deliver – at the same time, morphing a more typically staid part of the business in to a forward-thinking, powerful forecasting discipline.
Either way, most agree that the next eighteen months is going to an interesting time for the Finance industry as the Cloud starts to have an effect.
We spoke with our Technical Director, Adriaan Bekker after he returned from his visit in Washington D.C. to attend the Microsoft Inspire event. He was among 17,000 other attendees from around the world and from a wide range of organisations visiting the event.