There’s a profound transformation under way in how the world’s technology is built, bought, delivered, and consumed. “Cloud computing” is known by various names (such as public cloud or cloud IT services), but the idea is the same: Software is becoming a service. And for business users and IT decision makers, the appeal is huge.
The newest wave of customer relationship management (CRM) applications is helping to lead this new era of cloud computing and offers options for delivery models including services being called and delivered within the application. Next-generation CRM services are fundamentally cloud aware, with open interfaces for integrating with other related services, such as collaboration; content, such as product
specifications, or customer data; and network information, such as device location and user presence (whether a user is online and available to help solve problems). The net goal is to deliver simple and immediately useful technology that supports natural human interactions for end users, that can be easily managed by IT, and that drives continuing business value. Whether they are delivered as pure cloud services or a hybrid combination of cloud delivery and on-premise deployments, next-generation CRM applications can be far more than the sum of their parts.
Cloud applications (also called software as a service, or SaaS) can be deployed moments after purchase, giving users quick access to innovation as it is developed. The delivery model provides near-infinite capacity for scaling up or down based on changing requirements, so businesses pay for what they use, and utilization can be matched with real business requirements. For IT managers, access to cloud applications and platforms means they can match their onsite datacenter resources with components that are cloud sourced to provide a more complete technology portfolio for their users. Most importantly, the cloud means IT organizations have a powerful new asset to help them keep promises to their most important customer — their business units.
Cloud computing is not just about applications; platform and infrastructure software can also be delivered as services. In this document, software as a service (SaaS) refers to applications, platform as a service (PaaS) refers to platforms, and infrastructure as a service (IaaS) refers to infrastructure, each delivered through the cloud. This shorthand is a simple way to convey a powerful message. Together, these components make up the spectrum of public IT cloud services, which IDC projects will be a US$70 billion market by 2015, accounting for nearly 17% of information and communication technology (ICT) spending worldwide.