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Demystifying the Cloud

How do you spread the word about the benefits of Cloud Computing beyond technology enthusiasts, web “savvy” geeks and industry insiders  to the general business woman and man “in the street”?  The likes of Microsoft and Salesforce are certainly trying to do that with some of their advertising campaigns, but I believe they are missing the target by a mile.  A group of us have got together to try and amplify our voices with an initiative called Cloud Advocates.  Let me explain with a bit of an advert, tell you about our first event and our tie up with Freshbusinessthinking.com.

We are at the stage where Cloud Computing,  from web  based applications to on demand infrastructure, is just moving from being the next big trend to a mainstream technology choice.  There are a plethora of events and announcements around the topic, and just to complicate things every technology provider is redefining whatever offering they’ve got as a Cloud solution.  In the middle of all this noise  we need some clarity on the topic.  That is why Richard Messik and I decided to pool some of our marketing energy and form Cloud Advocates, an association of consultants who aim to demystify the Cloud and provide pragmatic help and advice for businesses, organizations and accounting practices .  I’m already involved in a number of vendor organizations promoting the Cloud, but this initiative is specifically aimed at end users and buyers.  Richard was one of the pioneers of Cloud solutions creating Easycounting, an online accounting system from back in the 90s, was a partner in practice at Vantis plc, though he now runs his own consultancy and practice – RFM Associates.  We’ve been joined by Adrian Pearson, another blogging accountant in practice turned business advisor, who is soon launching a Cloud solution of his own.  We each favour different online accounting solutions, but that adds to the message that we want Cloud Advocates to be as vendor agnostic as possible.

We aim to make our new Cloud Advocates website, CloudAdvocates.com, a destination for all things Cloud.  It aggregates our three blogs (so BTZ article are published there as well as here) and we will be  working together to add guides, highlighting the best of the available Cloud resources and news sites around the web.  We will be resurrecting Dennis Howlett’s database of SaaS apps and extending it.  The site shows our Cloud Manifesto, which isn’t just another definition of Cloud, but our roadmap for how you put this technology in to practice.   Most of the Cloud providers and experts speak too much jargon, technical issues and always seem to focus on potential negatives.   Cloud Advocates will explain the benefits in plain English and highlight the practical steps for a business or practice to make use of the best cloud applications and tools.

As well as launching the website, we’ve done two other things:

  • Set up our first Cloud Advocates event called “Cloud Accounting for the 21st Century“, hosted in London by our friends at Mimecast.  As well as debunking the myths of Cloud Computing, we’re covering accounting, CRM, email, hosted desktop and the other areas a practice or business will be interested in taking to the Cloud.    
  • We are pleased to announce that we are producing a monthly newsletter for Fresh Business Thinking.  The newsletter, titled Cloud means Business, is being distributed to over 70,000 subscribers of Freshbusinessthinking.com,  the business resource aimed at entrepreneurs, start ups and medium sized businesses which also runs the annual business conference, Freshbusinessthinking Live!  They are owned by All About Brands plc, the full service marketing company that includes subsidiaries like Brand Faith, Brandsmiths, Ideal Interface. Influential Thinking and The Willard Group.  You can see our first August edition here.

We’re hoping that collaborating this way we’ll be able to amplify the key message.  If you’ve got suggestions of other things we might do, the we’d love to hear from you. 

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