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Heads in the cloud

With continual advances in technology, transferring business software to the cloud is a trend on the increase. But is it for you? Four businesses talk about their experience of transition.

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Like so many other aspects of IT, office productivity software is heading to the cloud.

Businesses are attracted to the increased flexibility, the benefits of collaboration and the ability to work on mobile devices via apps. It also makes the tedium of updating a thing of the past. For those who are adopting the cloud approach the choice is often between Microsoft’s cloud-based Office 365 solution and Google Apps.

A survey of 1,300 accountants carried out by the Cloud Industry Forum for Digita, which is part of Thomson Reuters, found that 11% were already using cloud-based or hosted solutions. A further 22% said they were planning to move some or all of their solutions in the next year.

The pace is still a bit slow compared with the wider business world, where it is estimated that by the end of the year seven out of 10 UK businesses will be using at least one type of cloud service. In accountancy that figure is three in 10.

Perhaps surprisingly, 22% of those surveyed indicated that they were still not sure why they would need to move to the cloud.

Those who have made the move cited improved flexibility, easy upgrades and support, as well as IT cost savings as the motivation. Those who are yet to be convinced had concerns about data: 44% said they were worried about system reliability while 34% cited slow broadband speed in their region as the main impediment.

While cloud-based applications appear to be the way forward, it is also true many apply a hybrid approach made up of some installed applications and other web-based applications. We spoke to four businesses that have adapted a part or fully cloud-based solution...

This is an extract from an article in the September/October 2013 edition of Chartech, the magazine of the IT Faculty.

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