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Smarter Commerce | September 18, 2014

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What Is Cloud?

What Is Cloud?
Craig Hayman

To start to understand Cloud, you only have to look at the world around you.  How do you get your music, deposit a check or store your latest photos?

Today, it can all be done in the cloud: executed in the cloud; stored in the cloud; distributed via the cloud; paid for in the cloud and even streamed from the cloud. That’s because widely available bandwidth everywhere means people, things, and devices no longer need to be in the same place. What’s more…because we have agreed on a common way of doing things – encoding it in a standard way, serving it up on the Internet and streaming it on your tablet – means that people on any continent have access to this content.

How does this happen? Take the business process that allows you to deposit a check via the cloud, for example. The check-processing app is delivered as a service that was written on top of a platform that made it faster and easier to deliver this app that’s connecting deep into the secure infrastructure of the bank.  And in that bank, the servers, storage, raw computing power—the infrastructure—is being delivered as a service.

This is cloud – where any form of business process, software, platform, or infrastructure can be offered up as a service.  And, cloud solutions provide capabilities that can have an immediate impact on organizations.  Here’s how:

Delivers Speed

  • Allows organizations to more readily respond—and adapt—to the needs and wants of customers, employees, partners, and suppliers;
  • Enables organizations to tap quickly and effectively into computing power, storage and memory;
  • Fosters competitive advantage by bringing new capabilities faster.

Enhances Empowerment

  • Offers efficient access to the software and business process services people require: HR processes; marketing, sales, procurements and customer-oriented service applications;
  • Delivers the applications that enhance the user experience by embedding the intelligence to continuously improve those applications over time;
  • Allows developers to create their own development and test environments and deploy new apps in days rather than months.

Provides Economy of Scale

  • Provides economies of scale since you pay for only what you use;
  • Leverages existing IT infrastructure;
  • Saves time and money because people can serve themselves, getting just the services they need when they need them to do their jobs—on all devices.

Cloud is not just an IT phenomenon; it’s a growth engine.  To fuel that engine, you have to get three things right:

  1. Reinvention – Adopt a mindset that’s ready to innovate with cloud.
  2. Analytics – Use the valuable data from every cloud-based interaction to drive new efficiencies.
  3. Dynamic Hybrid Clouds – Strategically mix clouds to deliver better business outcomes

Whether you want to start with the new capabilities in mobile or social, for instance, or your existing applications, cloud systems can transform the enterprise.

Learn more about IBM SmartCloud solutions on ibm.com.

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