Last Friday we held our first information session on the topic of “What is the Cloud?“. We had a small but enthusiastic group of clients and non-clients attend; which was exactly what we were after; a relaxed atmosphere conducive to some good quality discussion.
Our information session covered the following topics:
A basic run down of the cloud and how it works:
Being accountants and not IT professors we first had to lay down a very basic foundation of what the cloud was, which was essentially the delivery of computing as a service, rather than a product over the internet. Although there are numerous arguments on what the real definition of “cloud” is, we kept a simple view on it; in that it is much like a utility such as electricity. We can, through the cloud, subscribe to SaaS (Software as a Service) based on a monthly subscription.
The software and data are hosted by a provider on their servers off site which we can access via the internet through a web browser. From a business perspective the external hosting of software is brilliantly convenient as utilising the cloud allows the provider to take care of all the hardware and software maintenance issues. So as a business owner who is more concerned on using their own time on constructive business issues, you can now say goodbye to wasting time and money on expensive software, annoying periodic software upgrades, expensive servers and licensing issues, as well as the countless hours and money with your IT people to make it all work seamlessly.
Clearing misconceptions of the cloud:
There are many who hold fears on what the cloud offers and are hesitant to making that leap into the cloud. The funny thing is that most of us have already made that leap to the cloud without even realising it. For instance one of the first mainstream applications of cloud based technology occurred 10 years ago through internet banking. It was initially treated with about as much apprehension as swimming with great white sharks, it seemed way too dangerous. However, 10 years later most of us can’t live without internet banking to the point that even our IT-phobic grandparents use it.
Xero, the world leading accounting system:
After establishing the solid foundation and future of Xero, through its investors and worldwide set-up, we were quick to point out how Xero’s concept of a “single ledger” is an embodiment of all the cool things that the cloud offers. The single ledger concept provides a great platform for business owners and accountants to develop a more proactive and meaningful business relationship.
It never ceases to amaze me that every time I demo Xero it wows our clients, and this event was no exception with everyone who attended our session agreeing that Xero is not only beautifully simple but it was also efficiently smart. They were astonished at the differences between the archaic software they were tied to and the time saving methods of Xero; it was a real what the… moment for some attendees. So much so that they were excitedly making the following comments:
- I don’t need to send my file to my accountant?
- I don’t have to roll over at year end?
- I don’t have to spend hours processing my bank statements and then do a manual bank reconciliation after it?
- I don’t need to do my invoices in word?
And my response was yes, yes, yes and yes.
Cloud enables interaction between applications:
We then touched upon the ability to pick and choose cloud applications that would seamlessly communicate with each other. This is perfect for start-ups or any business that need a number of software solutions for day to day running. Xero has software partners that can integrate their software with Xero; as an example Xero can collect accounting data as well as update contact lists from other cloud software.
We then showed some case studies which showed the cloud in action within the business; in real life terms. We had included the very slick Taylor Stitch case study which perfectly illustrated how the cloud solved some key aspects of their business through the use of Vend HQ for POS (Point of Sales) and inventory, Xero for accounting, and Shopify for their online retail shop.
And that was that, over some drinks and food we were able to have some great discussion with business owners on “What is the Cloud?“. We believe the session helped to open their eyes on what is out there in the clouds, to think outside the box, and more importantly see many benefits the cloud could bring to their business.
A big thank you to those who attended, we really appreciate the support, your comments and feedback. We look forward to seeing you all again at our next event in the near future.