Accounting Information Systems

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1.0 Cloud computing

Cloud computing is the next generation in computation. In simple terms it is being able to access files, data, programs and third party services from a Web browser via the Internet that are hosted by a third party provider and paying only for the computing resources and services used (Kim, 2009). It can be categorized into three broad categories of service; data storage, infrastructure/platform and application software (Beaman, Ceglowski, & Krueger, 2012 ). An example of service providers for each would be Data storage – Nirvanix, Infrastructure/platform – Amazon Web Services and for application software – Google docs, Net Suite (Du & Cong, 2010).

1.1 Positives of cloud computing for Comfortable Inn (Referred to as CI henceforth)

In the present day cloud service providers encourage companies to plug into the cloud as it is called, to fulfil their computing needs rather than leaving companies to manage these functions by themselves (Du & Cong, 2010). In CI’s case since they are such a large company running fifteen hotels this would make sense since managing the client/server system would consume quite a fraction of their money.

In relation to the problems being faced by usage of the existing client/server system one reason for the outages be blamed due to too many users accessing files at the same time – inadequate for current transaction processing requirements, and this problem is solved my multitenancy in cloud computing as multiple users within the same infrastructure is possible. This is possible due to the ability of workload movement because unlike the client/server system which just crashes due to heavy load cloud service providers would just migrate workloads across different data centres (Sridhar, 2009). With the usage of a cloud service provider such as Net Suite which provides full featured web based accounting software (Du & Cong, 2010), the delays in the generation of financial reports for CI could be avoided.

In addition to solving the existing problems of the existing client/server system, cloud computing offers additional advantages which could be useful to CI.

Since hotels usually have peak and off-season times with peak times giving a heavier load to the system and off-season not much, scalability provided by cloud computing is quite beneficial with pay as you use, thus pay less when less need for services (Kim, 2009).

Since cloud computing occurs in real time, the speed of the transactions being updated and available to managers of CI is very high (Beaman et al.,2012). Another bonus for CI, would be since cloud computing providers just present only one version of the application, expensive, time-consuming upgrades for software will be a thing of the past, and since CI will have quite a lot computers this is going to be a huge cost saved (Beaman et al.,2012). Furthermore another advantage is the off-site data storage and backups available (4 Service Inc), thus chances of CI losing any data would be quite remote.

2.0 Concerns

In relation to Comfortable inn (referred to as CI henceforth) implementing a new system based on cloud computing principles there would be some concerns that need to be taken into consideration. They are listed below in detail.

2.1 Service reliability

Since the service provider will be a third party entity the guarantee of them being up and running all the time is not there (Du & Cong, 2010). CI would be running the risk of not being able to do any of their daily business tasks if the service provider suddenly goes out of business, or stops functioning. The going-concern risk of world – renowned giants like Google’s Google Docs is low, but however maintenance times are obviously not going to be in accordance with CI’s preferences, thus all usage of files and software etc. will have to stop for the duration of the maintenance, which is very inconvenient.

In the case of maintenance at least in comparison with...
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