Cloud services became instantly more interesting to supply chain managers when the economy took a turn for the worse. This lower cost solution provided some of the flexibility and power that supply chains needed while being open enough to allow supply chain partners and touch points a way of communicating effort and health of the overall supply chain process. The article's author, Steve Dowse, explores how the cloud is making a big impact on not only IT as a whole but on supply chain in particular. He begins with explaining cloud computing and why it's important to consider: Cloud Computing (often referred to as simply “the cloud”) is a broad term that encompasses various models used to deliver computing services through the Internet as a utility, pay-as-you-go model. SaaS is the best-known model in the Cloud, the others being Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). The true power of cloud computing lies in the way it changes the economics of computing. By packaging and delivering computing services as a utility, consumers of those services reap the benefits of ubiquitous access to computing infrastructure, along with the economic benefits of scale, and the flexibility to match payment for services to the value they deliver to an organization. He then goes on to list why it's valuable to supply chains in particular: through a mix of “direct connectivity with networks of diverse training partners”, virtual communities that can track shipments, and streamlined routines. This becomes more and more important as the industry becomes more competitive, cost-conscious, and geographically dispersed.