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Companies see speed, opportunity in cloud computing



Jeff Feinman
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March 26, 2009 —  Many companies were on hand at Salesforce.com’s Cloudforce in New York City on Monday to talk about how cloud computing has helped them. Representatives of software-as-a-service and cloud-computing consulting company Bluewolf said that cloud computing is a means to help users get their applications to market faster. Bluewolf specializes in building and deploying enterprise software applications.

“With the cloud, all it means for our customers is that you can get up to speed quicker and your business processes will move faster,” said Corinne Sklar, vice president of marketing at Bluewolf. “If you ask the business side, it’s about, ‘I have a business problem and it needs to be solved. And guess what? On-premise and the old way isn’t as fast for me.’ ”

Cloud computing improves the uptime and maintenance of e-mail marketing provider Genius.com, according to Matt West, director of marketing programs. “If people are buying on-premise applications, they have to pay for maintenance and servers, and it could be six to 12 weeks out before you’re up and running,” he said.

“We’ve had a 99% uptime; the 1% of downtime is scheduled maintenance.”

Daniel Niemann, senior director of sales with data integration company Informatica, said that the main benefit of cloud computing is in opening the company’s market to non-IT professionals. With no hardware and software to install, as well as a point-and-click integration layout, people with limited technology skills can integrate data into systems like Oracle or Salesforce.

“In the past, integration could really only be completed by highly skilled IT professionals because they had to use middleware that was complex to use,” Niemann said. “Now everyone can do it on their own.”

Research In Motion talked about its attempts to make all applications available on BlackBerry, regardless of an application's availability in the cloud or the server.

Salesforce stressed to conference attendees that businesses should be able to subscribe to services for application maintenance right out of the cloud instead of having to purchase servers and databases. “The vision of the company from Day 1 has been that it should be as easy to use a business application as it is easy to buy a book on Amazon.com,” said Kraig Swensrud, Salesforce’s senior director of product marketing.





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