Tax & Accounting Blog

History of the Cloud

Blog, Indirect Tax, ONESOURCE, ONESOURCE Indirect Tax, Tax November 11, 2016

When something is so ingrained into our everyday lives, we seldom take the time to stop and ponder its existence.  With limited hours in our days and limited capacity in our brains, the design evolutions of the coffee maker, for example, don’t make the prioritized cut of things to think about.  We simply brew our morning cup and move on.  And so it is with the technologies we use every day; the technologies that have evolved themselves to be such foundational pillars to our lives, we simply don’t take notice of their monumental impacts.  And while the term ‘cloud computing’ almost seems antique by technology standards, let’s take a moment to stop and appreciate the achievements and advancements made throughout the history of the cloud.  In a prior post, my colleague gave an overview of what ‘the cloud’ means.  Today, we’ll look back on the evolution of cloud solutions and how our Tax & Accounting products have grown with the changing technologies.

Early cloud technologies can be traced back to the 1960s and ’70s as corporate labs and academia began exploring ideas of multiple people sharing what, at the time, was expensive hardware.  Early attempts at virtual machines began to pave the way for other distributed computing models, and while the vision of what is now cloud computing was born, it was still some time before the infrastructure technologies were in place to support wide adoption.  The ’90s saw acceleration of the needed infrastructure networks as the internet became mainstream, and it wasn’t long thereafter the corporate world started heavy development efforts around cloud platforms and virtual applications.  Companies like Salesforce, Amazon, Google, Cisco, IBM, Citrix and Microsoft, among many others, all have their place in accelerating the landscape of cloud computing.

The ‘cloud’ had become a disruptive innovation to the business computing industry and those companies that wanted to survive the shift had to pivot with the trending changes.  Large enterprises to smaller private software companies that had traditionally made their living with heavy footprint solutions requiring dedicated servers were now looking to move their solutions to the cloud.  Early transition attempts could sometimes be rough, as it proved challenging to provide the same desktop level functionality in the fairly new world of cloud platforms.  Today the model has shifted in such a way that any new software solutions are almost always created with a cloud platform in mind.

Here at Thomson Reuters™ Tax and Accounting, we have been embracing these cloud solutions for over a decade.  The large investments we made, from our world-class hosting infrastructures and facilities, to hiring the best engineers who have been trained on cloud technologies, provide evidence of how strongly we value our cloud strategy.  Within Thomson Reuters™ ONESOURCE Indirect Tax, we have made significant efforts to shift legacy desktop solutions to full-featured cloud solutions over the years.  Some of you may remember the shift from the ONESOURCE Sales & Use Tax Compliance physical media (CD, DVDs) product to the web version several years ago.

And now, in developing the next generation of our cloud products, we have gone back to the drawing board to study the day-to-day workflow patterns of users to help us design solutions that streamline job tasks.  We’ve embraced a single set of user experience standards, leveraging the latest front-end technologies specifically designed for cloud solutions.  We have changed the conversation away from the desktop to “anywhere, on any device” access.  The lines between individual products are blurring and a new tax platform, designed for the cloud, will emerge to give tax professionals a higher standard of productivity. Our customers are embracing cloud solutions in such a way that they simply become a standard part of any tax professional’s day, as easy and routine as a cup of freshly brewed coffee.


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ONESOURCE Indirect Tax provides powerful tax automation software combined with the most comprehensive global tax content (supporting over 15,800 taxing authorities in U.S. and in over 180 countries) arming customers with a single tax engine that enforces tax rules and accurately calculates sales, use, and VAT taxes. ONESOURCE Indirect Tax can be deployed in either the cloud or on premise to accommodate companies of all sizes.