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What is a Cloud use case/application?

In theSocial Enterprise – What, Why, How? – Part3Social Enterprise – What, Why, How? – Part3, we have established the platform for Enterprise 2.0 needs to be cloud driven. As such, understanding the key features of a cloud use case is important.

A cloud use case/application is very distinct from a web application and in some ways distinct from a SAAS (software as a service) application. 

Some of the key characteristics are described in this blog.

Utilize parallel computing

In the cloud computing paradigm a use case should be massively parallel (i.e. many users accessing the system simultaneously).  Gaming Systems, Auction Sites, Social Platforms are good examples where the use case drives a multitude of users to itself.

A true cloud use case will drive have high resource consumption (bandwidth, processing power, memory, storage).  – The resource consumption is what a customer is billed.

Horizontal scaling

 A cloud based use case should have an inherent capability to drive the user to do more each time he comes back. 

Think of this like marketing. You need to draw the user maybe via window shopping, tele-marketing, coupons. Once the user enters the store the use case should enable the user “to want to do more”.

If a use case provides value (solves a problem) it is seductive enough for users to try. The trick is to make the use case addictive. A great read on this is the lobster trap blog.

Emerging and Best of Breed Tools, UI techniques, interaction patterns are great enablers.

If a use can can entice a user and keep him coming back, there is an automatic need for parallel computing.

Bottom line: If the use case is seductive and addictive, users will come.

Highly available system

As a consequence of the above two characteristic, the system needs to be highly available.

 If a use case is valid only for a time-period or a set of users it will not scale horizontally. Such a use case is a SAAS use case where you need a load balancer. An example of this loading invoices into a financial system once a quarter. The load is heavy for a day but after that it drops to almost negligible ( from cloud standards).

A cloud use case is in has a high volume of users at almost all times. Gaming systems, Social Media, Communication networks cuts trough geographies, ages, gender, profession to be ubiquitous. As such they need to be available all times.  

Culture

A cloud use case understands the culture of its user. It presents intuitive and easy to use, tools to achieve the use case. If a use case is ahead of its users it will never succeed. An end-user’s ( not an IT user) view is the best view. Some users have structural mental models, while others can derive value from chaos. A cloud use case should be customizable according to demographics.

Conclusion

Enterprise 2.0 needs renovated use cases which are user-driven. Monolithic business processes could be made more interesting using the latest design thinking. Use cases which embed the above feature (maybe more) will entice users. The need of the hour is to think “Simple”.

Written by Asif Khan, in collaboration with Paul Abraham

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