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Jan 28, 2013

Leveraging the Cloud in Your Company's App Strategy

Cloud computing: it’s the latest buzzword, and every vendor seems to be offering some kind of cloud solution ranging from software-as-a-service (SaaS) offerings to infrastructure plays such as virtualization, storage, application development and deployment, email/collaboration, and disaster recovery. But what does it really mean? Should you be hopping on the bandwagon, too? Cloud computing is essentially a way to share and utilize IT resources more efficiently. Enterprises can gain many benefits from leveraging cloud capabilities such as:
  • More flexibility: Companies can scale up or down depending on the needs of the business without increasing capital expenditures for physical infrastructure.
  • Better utilization: Eliminate the common problem of low utilization due to the traditional siloed approach to capacity – with the cloud’s shared resource approach, capacity is always optimally utilized.
  • Speed: Companies can act more quickly once the need for extensive hardware purchasing cycles is removed. For example, time to market for new product launches can be reduced significantly.
There are many ways companies can leverage the cloud in their app strategies. First, with the vast array of devices used by employees, it's impossible to create native apps for all of them in a cost-effective manner. Instead, cloud development platforms that enable developers to “write once deploy everywhere” have become attractive alternatives. Technologies such as HTML5 and JQuery are making this possible as they enable a user experience that is much closer to native without having to pay to develop for each platform. Companies can also use cloud platforms that embrace a hybrid approach (native wrapper around HTML5 code) to take advantage of device-specific features and APIs, and enable their apps to be deployed in the various platform app stores. Second, enterprises can make their apps more powerful by offloading services and processing power away from the device. Much of the functionality of an app, such as storage, computing, and security, can be handled in the cloud, allowing more efficient performance at the device level. Third, mobile apps aren’t just fancy ways to showcase your company or product. Many core enterprise tools such as HR and accounting are moving to the cloud (for example, Quickbooks Online), often with key functions available on mobile. With 75% of the mobile cloud app market comprised of employees using mobile devices for business purposes, and 60% of enterprises adopting BYOD strategies, it's clear that mobile is here to stay. Are you going to limit your profitability with more traditional on-premises solutions or will you leverage the advantages of the cloud in your mobile strategy?

Mark Lorion

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