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Most would agree that cloud technology has experienced much hype over the years. But it has attracted the majority of businesses to evaluate, and in many cases adopt, cloud for many of their core business applications.

There are certainly a lot of options available to enterprise users: hyper-scale public cloud; software-as-a-service business software ‘on demand’; managed on- and off-premise private cloud; and hybrid combinations.

Over the last few years, cloud technologies have demonstrated massive leaps in usability, enterprise support, application integration and security. In fact, very few businesses have been left untouched by cloud, and the benefits it brings - things like reduced IT costs; competitive advantage; increased agility; improved IT team efficiency; and reduced IT complexity.

Cloud has also meant that, in many ways, every company is an app company as their employees rush to embrace mobile and cloud-based working on the one hand, and application vendors increasingly adapt their business software for mobile and web-based users on the other.

With cloud, seeing is believing, with the benefits only really being experienced through trying out business cloud services and apps. With this in mind, enterprise cloud services provider Salesforce is inviting organisations to try its cloud services for free, and find out how quickly they can build apps using its Salesforce App Cloud platform.

Salesforce argues that app-based companies have the power to be more agile, because they can turn manual or disconnected processes into cloud-based ones. And by connecting them up across the business, the organisation as a whole can gain new efficiencies, improve the productivity of its staff, and meet the needs of a fast-moving marketplace.

With App Cloud, it is possible to build a business app very quickly - in days or weeks rather than months or years, as is traditionally the case. Non-technical employees can achieve this without writing a single line of code, using visual drag-and-drop tools such as Lightning App Builder and Lightning Process Builder. The Salesforce webinar even shows you how you can have a basic app up and running without using code in as little as 20 minutes.

Lightning App Builder offers a huge library of reusable, well-defined components that can be combined with components developed in-house or components built by third parties and offered on the Salesforce AppExchange. The user can brand and customise their app for smartphones and tablets, and deploy it across the business in just a few clicks.

As a result, App Cloud can help deliver cutting-edge, customer-driven applications that meet key business needs such as worker productivity, data visibility, and automating business processes.

Another free resource Salesforce offers is Trailhead, a website dedicated to its admins, users and developers across all levels of expertise. It features ‘trails’ with videos, online learning sessions and demonstrations, to help them get the best from the software.

Salesforce argues that one of the advantages for IT teams of building apps that run in the cloud is they can focus on serving the business through innovation and providing the right tools and training, instead of spending time maintaining IT equipment.

This was the experience of Antoine de Kerviler, CIO Eurostar, who says, “IT needs to support the business. It needs to help the company in every way possible to improve the customer experience. That is certainly one of our objectives at Eurostar.”

He adds, “With Salesforce, we have the most efficient and scalable cloud platform. It means our focus is on serving our clients, not building servers and managing infrastructure."

As part of its IT transformation, Eurostar replaced its legacy intranet with a modern social community built on Salesforce technology. So, when service disruptions occur, Eurostar’s team of 1800 employees can communicate real-time information and post photos, from any device. De Kerviler says, “App Cloud has enabled us to release applications in days or weeks, not months or years. We’d never be able to do that with a different solution.”

Regarding App Cloud, analyst firm Gartner comments: “Salesforce’s familiar name, reputation and strong abilities in CRM, as well as its high-productivity and high-control application platform-as-a-service (aPaaS) offerings, mean that it is the aPaaS most considered by aPaaS clients surveyed by Gartner. Of these surveyed clients, the Salesforce customers gave App Cloud high scores for cloud support ("cloudiness"), ease of use, integration and overall quality.”

Cloud infrastructure services like Salesforce’s have matured greatly over time, with App Cloud in particular being an ideal starting point for enterprises wanting to move to the cloud.

The best way to make your mind up about cloud apps is to try them out, and a good place to start your cloud journey is with a free trial of App Cloud. After all, seeing is believing.”