Access survey reveals finance professionals’ confusion over cloud computing

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Many financial professionals remain confused by cloud computing according to a recent survey* undertaken by Access, the mid-market consulting, software and solutions provider. Nearly half of the respondents (49 per cent) were not familiar at all with the three cloud computing concepts, Software-as-a-Service, Platform-as-a-Service or Infrastructure as a Service. Just six per cent described themselves as very familiar with the terms.

Considering the finance function ultimately holds the purse strings, industry and internal proponents of cloud computing have a great deal of work to do in putting forward a clear business case for the areas where cloud solutions would be most beneficial.

Many financial professionals remain confused by cloud computing according to a recent survey* undertaken by Access, the mid-market consulting, software and solutions provider. Nearly half of the respondents (49 per cent) were not familiar at all with the three cloud computing concepts, Software-as-a-Service, Platform-as-a-Service or Infrastructure as a Service. Just six per cent described themselves as very familiar with the terms.

Chris Bayne, managing director for Access, commented, “Cloud computing has been around for a number of years now so one would expect familiarity and understanding of the concepts to be higher. However with a great deal of hype still surrounding the topic there needs to be more clarity around the benefits that it can bring to business as a whole.”

An incredible 67 per cent of the financial professionals polled said that their organisations presently did not use cloud computing. Forty-one per cent said they were not looking to implement cloud solutions, while 26 per cent did not know whether it was in their organisation’s future plans.

“Considering the finance function ultimately holds the purse strings, industry and internal proponents of cloud computing have a great deal of work to do in putting forward a clear business case for the areas of the organisation where cloud solutions would be most beneficial. It is critical for any software implementation to have buy-in from all key stakeholders,” continued Chris.

Of those organisations that currently use cloud computing solutions, most were using CRM (22 per cent), followed by document management (14 per cent), and HR solutions (14 per cent). Eight per cent of respondents said they used accounting software and 6 per cent used payroll software. Only three per cent said they were using cloud-based manufacturing and distribution solutions and no organisations were using ERP or procurement solutions.

The survey also provided insight into those organisations looking to implement cloud computing solutions, with 54 per cent saying they would do so within the next 12 months. The two top reasons cited were flexibility and scalability of IT and software services (28 per cent), followed by disaster recovery/business continuity (24 per cent). Interestingly, organisations were not looking to reductions in personnel headcount as the main reason for implementation.

However, the respondents did have some concerns around cloud computing, especially when it comes to their valuable business data. Unsurprisingly, 26 per cent of finance professionals cited confidentiality and security of company data as the biggest area of concern. This was followed by lack of control over software and data (17 per cent) and consistency of service (17 per cent).

“It is understandable that organisations should be concerned about these issues. They’re very important to the integrity of the business and are all important points of discussion to be had with the software vendor,” said Chris. “But do bear in mind that the provider’s reputation is at stake so it’s in their best interests to ensure the highest levels of contingency are in place to avoid any breach of security.”

Chris concluded, “Technology is a great enabler, providing organisations with the opportunity to leverage the most from their business and resources. Understanding the solutions that are out there, the benefits they can bring to the business or how they can compliment existing systems is essential. Consideration should also be given as to whether a combination of on-premise and cloud is the right route to take. Whatever decision is made, a good systems integrator will be vital to ensure the success of any business-wide project. The great news is that it’s really not that complicated to get your head around cloud. The biggest issue – as always – is determining corporate strategy and business requirements.”

Access announced its cloud strategy back in October this year and will release a number of new cloud computing solutions over the coming months starting with document management and HR solutions. For more information contact 0845 345 3300 or listen to our cloud computing podcast where you can learn more about the subject. Alternatively, keep up-to-date by following Access on twitter, http://www.twitter.com/theaccessgroup.

*Sample: Access sampled 100 finance professionals during Autumn/winter 2010 to gain valuable insight into the knowledge and use of cloud computing within their organisations.

About Access

  •     Access is a consulting, software and solutions provider, serving the mid-market
  •     The consulting services are backed by more than 75 accredited consultants, providing business software expertise. They operate nationally out of 10 offices in the UK and Ireland
  •     The software portfolio provides solutions to meet the needs of the whole organisation, helping to reduce complexity and increase efficiencies at every level. In addition to accounting and finance, Access also offers manufacturing software, professional services automation, and accounting for carbon emissions reporting. Other software solutions include distribution and warehousing, HR and payroll, document management, service and contract management and CRM and sales automation.

Accreditations and memberships:

  •     Microsoft Gold Certified Partner
  •     Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW)
  •     Business Application Software Developers Association (BASDA)
  •     HM Revenue & Customs: Payroll Standards Scheme

Awards:

  •     Accountancy Age Award 2010 for ‘Software Package of the Year’
  •     SIFT Media Software Satisfaction Awards 2010 for ‘Enterprise Accounting & Finance’
  •     SIFT Media Software Satisfaction Awards 2010 for ‘SME Human Resources & Human Capital Management’
  •     FrontRange Partner Awards 2010 for ‘CRM Partner of the Year’
  •     Green IT Awards 2010 for 'Environmental Accounting Software of the Year'
  •     Construction Computing Awards 2010, 'Construction Accounting Software of the Year'

Media information:
Helen Carpenter
Head of Group PR
Access UK Ltd
T: +44 (0) 1206 322575 / 07833 936311
F: +44 (0) 1206 322956
E: helen(dot)carpenter(at)theaccessgroup(dot)com    
W: http://www.theaccessgroup.com

Tim Cole
PR Executive
Access UK Ltd
T: +44 (0) 1206 322575
F: +44 (0) 1206 322956
E: tim(dot)cole(at)theaccessgroup(dot)com
W: http://www.theaccessgroup.com

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Tim Cole
Access
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