This will be my last post before the Easter break and I’m going to add a few days on top which basically means there won’t be much, if anything, coming from AccMan the next week. I’ll only post if something truly earth shattering comes along. There are other things I need to devote time to plus I am sticking to my regime of taking a proper break (no phone, no email, no Twitter) at least once every three or four months even if it is only for a few days. Since most UK professionals also take this time out as well it kinda fits.
The first four months of 2011 have been a bit of a mixed bag but with a stack of travel. According to TripIt I have been away 32 days in six countries 18 cities and flown 68,730 km so far this year. The conference season gets longer, more companies want to meet and then there are the everyday dramas of what’s happening in the world of technology. My travel schedule in May and June is already filling up with three weeks already gone from the calendar. It would have been four if it wasn’t for the fact I passed on an opportunity to visit a company that wants to invite me in my analyst role, but doesn’t want me to write or Tweet anything on what I see. That’s not how I roll.
I kicked off the year with a piece about cloud FUD. Today, I am far less concerned about the fear, uncertainty and doubt that some vendors put into the market place. The SaaS/cloud vendors are buckling down and getting on with building out their businesses. There’s still plenty of room for improvement and especially on the benefits front, more of which later. Time to say thanks to my sponsors.
By the end of April, Xero will have completed another year’s accounts for the year to March 21st, 2011 and hopefully we’ll get some colour on how they’re doing. This week I had a private conversation with the FreeAgent people. They’re not ready to say much about future plans but I was reminded about The Depot, where they post features in development. They’ve come a long way and continue to ramp customers and partners. They are also building a nice catalogue of add-ons, the latest one being Plendi, an expense tracking tool that works on iPhone. Twinfield continues to roll on with its focus on XBRL and more recently, its bank automation. I understand they are adding UK resources. Workbooks does one thing that some of my sponsors fight shy of – show a short term roadmap. I’m also looking forward to filming some of their customers in June.
Skyytek has been a source of fantastic information on the commercial side of larger SaaS/cloud deployments and especially around SAP Business ByDesign, one of my pet project areas. I love that they’re asking questions about cloud consulting – a topic in which all professionals should be interested. FinancialForce is expanding and acquiring line of business application providers. That will be a trend consultants might wish to track as we see vendors who you might pigeon hole in ‘accounting’ become solution providers for vertical markets. Wordframe has been quiet of late but I understand they have interesting ‘stuff’ to talk about in the coming weeks.
Above all I want to thank NetSuite. They’ve taken some tough words from me in the past but most recently I have been pleased to see them offer great content. The webinar I attended the other day was first class and the advisory they offered to professional services businesses was top class content. And that’s what the sponsor thing is all about – content that reflects the leadership these vendors are striving towards. As a side note, readers who wonder how I can flay a vendor one minute and praise them the next should know I am an equal opportunity flamethrower – that’s my consistency.
By the end of June I hope to have completed a couple more projects. One is a paper that talks to the economics and benefits of cloud computing. Over the last few months I have been gathering data on these topics. The other is that in June, I hope to film a set of customer stories. It’s been a while since I got hold of some walking talking paying customers and have a few days lined up to get that done. I think that will be a valuable addition to the stories I put out here. I also want to meet some of those progressive practices we hear about from time to time.
OK – that’s about it for the moment. I’m expecting the second two thirds of 2011 to be as busy as the first third and then some. Enjoy the break whatever you may be doing.