saleforceAlthough the term ‘cloud’ can seem mystical and ambiguous, the cloud is actually quite simple. Anything stored in the cloud, such as data and software, is stored on massive server farms in other locations and not on a single computer’s hard drive. Functionally, this distinction between different storage locations means that anything ‘in the cloud’ can be accessed on the Internet from any location regardless of device type.

When data and software, while on the cloud, will not be stored on your actual computers, but rather on some distant server farm, it becomes crucial to ask another question: who owns these servers and therefore who secures and protects my data? The short answer is that many of the largest global companies have control of these huge server farms–Google, Apple, Microsoft, Yahoo, and Amazon to name a few.

While Google has become a household name for its cloud-based innovations–examples include Gmail and Google Drive–another company has been leading a cloud-based innovation charge of their own: Salesforce.com. In fact, in 2012, Forbes magazine named Salesforce as the world’s most innovative company for a second consecutive year. That’s right–Salesforce beat out Google, Apple, and Amazon, which were also in the top 10.

What makes Salesforce such a powerhouse? For one, its cloud-based innovations connect companies “with customers, partners, and employees in entirely new ways.” Salesforce has a variety of different ‘cloud’ products, which help to achieve this goal–including for Sales, Marketing, Customer Service, Employee Communication, and a ‘Chatter Feed,’ which brings everything together for collaboration in real time. In addition to its own innovative products, Salesforce offers a cloud platform through which other companies can bring their own software products to the cloud. Companies can then sell their own cloud-based software products on the Salesforce AppExchange, much like Apple’s App Store.

Because of Salesforce’s demonstrated business innovation leadership, ClaimVantage chose to use their Force.com ‘cloud’ development platform to gain many claim technology advantages, including easier integration, “best practices” user interfaces, and reduced cost of ownership.

As the Forbes magazine ranking confirms, cloud-based products are driving innovation throughout the economy. Since innovation is the key to not only business growth, but also to business survival, moving to the cloud has become a competitive necessity. The rest of the world is embracing the cloud–will you?