I just come across this Outback case study which demonstrates the typical use of cloud computing platform in enabling quick time-to-market of a marketing campaign and wanted to share it with broader audience.
Outback combined Facebook with Windows Azure to create a marketing campaign that offered free appetizer coupons for the first 500,000 visitors of their Facebook fan page. Here are the excerpts of the case study.
Windows Azure platform is familiar to developers who have been building .NET applications:
They selected the Windows Azure platform , an Internet-scale, cloud platform-as-a-service offering hosted in Microsoft data centers. "We had a lot more confidence going with Windows Azure-even though it hadn't been released yet," says Zimmerman. "It provided a more familiar, less expensive infrastructure and led us down a scalable path."
In the context of time to market:
"It took less than two months to develop the Outback cloud-computing application. Developers built it as a Web application, establishing worker roles with caches and an asynchronous architecture to improve performance and scalability. They used Microsoft SQL Azure and the Table service in Windows Azure Storage Services for background processing. The application's integration with its own cloud-based database makes it possible for Outback to run queries and produce reports."
Following quote from Dan Dillon (CMO) says it all:
"We are thrilled with the results of the effort, how quickly we grew our base of Facebook fans, and the technology that Thuzi provided to make the application so successful."
The full case study can be viewed at Restaurant Chain Outback Steakhouse Boosts Guest Loyalty with Social Networking and Cloud Computing.