Last month, on 17 April, I was invited to attend the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales (ICAEW
)'s annual Cloud accounting event - Winning business in the cloud: reap the benefits of SaaS
. A great title with with the promise of making the case for deploying Cloud. The hashtag for the event was #icaewcloud
- it's now at the stage that if your event hasn't got a hashtag, you're missing out in a big way. Actually this event was generally good, except for one presenter who was well off message, and with whom I have to take issue - more on that later. First I have to disclose that ICAEW is one of my biggest customers (we provide the technology supporting their on-line community
), and that I have a huge amount of time and respect for Richard Anning
, the head of the IT Faculty. He and Paul Booth
do a good job putting on events like this one, and fostering IT Counts
which is a great resource for peer to peer technology advice in the accounting space. I should also disclose we resell Twinfield's online accounting
- they presented last year and the year before, but not this time.
Richard did a fine job chairing and ...
Last Monday I visited a data centre housed in a nuclear bunker. Visiting data centres isn't usually that inspiring - rows of server racks, cabinets with uninteruptible power supplies (UPS) and the like. This one's different, which is why I want to tell the story. Can you think of anywhere safer for your data than an underground bunker capable of withstanding nuclear attack? But I must start with two disclosures. The first is that this company is our latest customer - we're helping them with product messaging, website content and social media strategy. The second, you may know anyway, is that I'm a bit of a business geek and I never tire of doing the tour of a new company or industrial site. I'm fascinated by the way organisations set themselves up, from the layout of the office to the machinery on the "shop floor", and all the processes in between - whether it's an agency using words, design and a bit of technology to heavy manufacturing and big machines making "things" I get excited. This visit was a bit more than special though.
I've known The Bunker for years. I thought they had just picked a cool name for their ...
Back on 26 April I was asked to present "5 Key Challenges for the ISV CTO and How to Beat Them!" at a Ciklum seminar for ISVs
that intended to deliver a hype-free conversation among CTOs, Chief Technical Architects and other key executives grappling with the journey to the cloud. My slides for the session (see below) are already on Slideshare
, but they are mostly visual, so I decided to do this comprehensive (that means long right? - Ed) blog write up following the slide sequence as a companion piece. I was in good company, because the other speakers were Jimmy Gasteen of Precursive
, Liam Hogan of OpenText
and Melissa di Donato of Salesforce.com
. My pitch was intended to do three things:
- Give my perspective on the current state of the Cloud landscape
- Offer my 5 key challenges for the ISV CTO in moving to the Cloud
- Leave the audience with some practical ideas to take action straight away
The current IT landscape is pretty cloudy. IT providers are branding whatever product they have that happens to run in a datacentre somewhe as "Cloud" ...
Over here we are anticipating this year's Cloud Computing World Forum
in London, but over in the US Larry Ellison, Oracle's founder and CEO since 1977, has pivoted his position on the Cloud along with "crossing a line" to trash key competitors. Elsewhere old guard software giants like IBM are mis-communicating the Cloud messages. How does this help the the industry, the typical buyer in an SME, or the average CIO in a larger enterprise? Actually this noise generated by the old guard of IT is significant in positioning the current status of the Cloud landscape, but what we really need is some clarity of vision on the Cloud topic from the big players rather than messaging crafted at protection of their existing customer base and revenue streams.
Last Wednesday Larry announced what the Oracle press release claimed as "the "industry’s broadest and most advanced Cloud strategy"
, although on the day he actually said, "we are now announcing the most comprehensive Cloud on the planet Earth"
. This is an interesting turn around considering Larry has regularly lambasted the Cloud term. Take a look at this interview some of you may remember from ...
We are several months past the 10 year anniversary of the September 11 (9/11) attacks, but one of the significant consequences of that event a decade ago highlights the cultural divide between the USA and Europe on data protection. Data privacy has been hitting the news recently because of Google's changes in their terms and condition. Frank Jennings
of DMH Stallard, who chairs the Governace Board for the CIF Code of Practice
on which I sit, has just published a good analysis of the proposed reforms to the EU's data protection laws
, and that triggered me to visit the topic here. Data in terms of security, privacy and sovereignty is still the number 1 issue for companies who are first considering Cloud Computing. As a buyer, you need to carry out your due diligence for any software, platform or infrastructure as a service - you should be checking how and where the provider will be storing your data, and how YOU will comply with legislation like the Data Protection Act.
Here in the UK, if your systems handle personal information about individuals you have a number of legal obligations to protect that information under the Data Protection Act 1998
. .. ...
I've just made a significant switch in one of the main tools I use for my own personal productivity which highlights a key trend for the industry and all of us - the personal cloud
. Whether it is for work or our personal lives we use desktop computers, laptops, mobile phones, media players and tablets and a lot of the time we need to get at the same stuff from each device. For some time we've been used to setting up our smart phones so we can sync and access the same email as on the computer or the web, and the early adopters and geeky types have been sharing photos and documents too. The personal cloud will make that easy and more pervasive for everyone.
Let me explain more with the key tool that I use for all my writing, note taking, project documentation and capturing of ideas. Since January 2005 I've been using what I believe is Microsoft's best and most undervalued product - OneNote
. OneNote is a free form note taking application with a user interface that looks like the Windows equivalent of a cool Moleskin notebook
. I can type, draw, insert pictures or make screen clippings and capture my thoughts in multiple notebooks. .. ...
One of the big issues for a buyer today considering Cloud Computing is how do you choose a good Cloud provider from a bad one? Who do you trust? Maybe the Cloud Topic needs some standards? Well actually there are so many standards bodies and vendor groups that the picture is confused - something that I try to demystify with my company
and with the various cloud groups that I'm involved with. If you type "cloud standards" in to Google, you'll find an alphabet soup of acronyms, and even the first entry in the list - a "Wiki site for Cloud Standards Coordination
" - initially looks promising, but doesn't yet mention some of the key organizations that have something worthwhile to contribute to this topic.
When you do some research you find the International Organization for Standardization
(their ISO 27001
on IT security is relevant for the data centre) or the IBM backed Open Cloud Manifesto
or The Open Data Center Alliance
, and many others, but most of their output seems to be about technical standards for set up, programming and interoperability of services - good for the industry as a whole, but not necessarily relevant to the average .. ...
I just want warn the Internet and social media addicts everywhere that I will be back blogging again on a more regular basis from today. I've left a big gap since my last post although I've carried on tweeting and RTing snippets and the good stuff - the Twitter community that I follow still gives me the best, filtered access to quality content and ideas from out there. I've been addicted to Twitter
since 14 February 2007 - It seems appropriate that our 5 year love affair started on Valentine's Day!
I haven't been completely absent from publishing blogs as Cloud Advocates
started a regular email newsletter called Cloud means Business
over on Fresh Business Thinking
. The newsletter goes out to over 70,000 subscribers, and each post goes up on the FBT site too. I write 2 of the 4 posts each month, and we are just about to publish the 8th edition. I'll repost some or all of those 16 articles here in the coming weeks, and I'll add links in a side column soon. As well as that I have half a dozen draft posts languishing in Evernote ready to be completed. Thank heavens it isn't a blank page....
The thing that finally spurred me back to action was contributing to the ...
Two weeks ago I was part of a modest International stream as part of Twinfield
's very impressive National Accountancy Day in The Netherlands. They have been running this Annual event for 6 years and it has grown from 30 attendees back in 2005 to 500 last year, and well over 600 attendees this time, along with an exhibition area where around 40 companies showed their Twinfield connected applications and services. There was a buzz of excitement, and a feelgood vibe you might expect from a Salesforce event, but not necessarily with a collection of mostly accountants as the audience.
The event was significant, both because of the size and the fact that this was the first event following Wolters Kluwer
's takeover of Twinfield
earlier this year. It gave me a chance to gauge the progress they've made and judge how well Twinfield will thrive under their new parent's regime. The initial indications are very positive.
The International stream was attended by UK customers like Goodman Jones
, CWM, and Wingrave Yeats
. Twinfield's Irish partner presented their Ezora reporting
explained their document scanning solution that is now live linking purchase invoice scans ...
In his book The Origin of Species, Charles Darwin called divergence the driving force that creates a new species. Last week Amazon enhanced their Kindle range
of e-readers, but also applied some divergence to the tablet market by extending in to a new sub-category of mobile tablet devices with the Kindle Fire
. I think it's going to be huge and spell a lot of trouble for Android tablets from the likes of Motorola
, HTC and Samsung
, and probably BlackBerry's PlayBook
too. Up to now these "me too" devices haven't put much of a dent in the Apple iPad's market leading dominance. This particular step by Amazon is a flanking move on Apple, but in itself it won't harm iPad sales much. Amazon is going to take a very strong position at the bottom end of the tablet market, and whatever their next step is things are getting interesting. Let me explain a little. Al and Laura Ries
applied Darwin to marketing to explain how product categories diverge with their excellent 2004 book The Origin of Brands
. In a follow on article for AdAge
, Al wrote:
"In Darwin's words, "nature favors the extremes." The "sweet spot" of a market is an illusion that soon .. ...