I have been discussing the different types of cloud computing and how to decide which one (if any) are appropriate for your business.

If you have not already, you may want to read the earlier posts in this series:

The application cloud (SaaS)

The application cloud is sometimes called a functional cloud or a software cloud, and is more often referred to as Software-as-a-Service (SaaS).

For example, Salesforce.com provides an online customer relationship management (CRM) tool. This includes network, storage, compute server and software to run the application.

The benefits of using the application cloud:

  • The application cloud has all the capabilities of a hardware cloud, plus the ability to run applications.
  • The application cloud is typically accessed through a web browser, allowing a dispersed workforce to use the same software.
  • Use of the application cloud is typically billed on a per-use basis, though some programs use a subscription model.

The application cloud can be a very good option if you do not have the resources—or do not want to allocate the resources—to develop your own software.

The process cloud

The process cloud is also called a desktop cloud or application environment cloud, and is the most robust form of cloud computing. It includes network, storage, compute server, software to run applications, and a platform to write and develop applications.

One example of a process cloud is the Google Apps Engine, which provides tools for developers to create and host web applications using Google’s infrastructure.

The primary benefit of this type of cloud computing is the flexibility to use SaaS in combination with your own applications. This means that you can pick and choose which capabilities you develop in-house to achieve an optimal balance for speed and cost effectiveness.


The application and process clouds offer more robust cloud computing options than the infrastructure or platform clouds, but insurers must consider what their business requires. Next week, I’ll discuss the six ways that cloud computing will transform the enterprise.

Do you use a application or process cloud? How did you decide that cloud was the best fit for your needs? Has it met your needs?

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