The Month in Technology Feb 2016 - Jersey Evening Post

Last week I asked if 73 women enter Wimbledon, how many matches would need to be played to find the winner ? It’s a good interview question; you don’t need to remember a particular answer and see someone’s problem solving approach.  Since it’s a straight knockout competition everyone except the winner loses a match, so in our case we need 72 matches to find the winner.

For this article I thought I would reflect on the effects of cloud computing platforms on our business lives, and the changes that this drives in technology.

There is an old cliché of a traveller lost in rural Ireland asking a passing local how to get to Dublin “Well, I wouldn’t start from here”. Setting up a company from scratch gives one the opportunity to start again without any baggage so I decided to try to set up everything.

Apocryphally someone who represents themselves in court has a fool for a client. Specialists in the areas that I have done myself are fully entitled to shake their heads and suck their teeth !

However, I thought I would share what was easy to do and where one definitely needs to get advice from an expert.

Firstly, few organisations actually require much computer hardware other than laptop/desktop computers, wifi and a leased scanner/printer. Businesses may require specialist hardware or to keep some data on island, but common requirements such as Office tools, email and document storage are best sourced from one of the numerous cloud computing providers. It took half an hour to set up my full set of tools on Office 365 that now costs me £15 per month, the admin tools are easy to use, and there are lots of video and text tutorials explaining how to do it.

For accounting I use xero.com, with advice from Purpose.je. Whilst I initially got some of the data feeds and accounting entries wrong, these are easy to resolve and monitor by professionals going forward who can spend their time giving business advice.

For a website I went with Squarespace.com, one of several cloud self service web design platforms after advice from greenlight.  I will definitely be getting help on design and search engine integration, but building the first version is about getting the content to a serviceable state without endless rounds of editing via email.  The platform costs $8 per month including hosting.

These platforms won’t replace professionals, but local experts need to be ready to select and implement them for their clients or risk losing them entirely to off island competition.