It's June – the middle of baseball season. In the Major Leagues, pennant races are just starting to heat up, while in the minor leagues it's becoming clear which players are ready for their first taste of the Show. Across the world, young athletes learn the importance of being on a team while coaches teach players how to play the game. A strong grasp of the fundamentals is key to developing as a baseball player; in a similar vein, understanding how each aspect of cloud computing is beneficial to overall improvement can lead adopting businesses to better cloud performance. Like baseball, cloud computing is composed of many different nuanced components that have an impact on each other. Companies, like baseball teams, may have their 'star players' – the veterans who know how to work optimally in the system or young upstarts that have new ideas about the way that the game works – but without a strong top-to-bottom lineup of players with complementary strengths, a team can only go so far. With enterprise-class cloud computing solutions, businesses can find themselves achieving new heights.

Enterprise cloud adopters: the five-tool players
In baseball, a 'five-tool player' is one who seems to excel in all the different areas of athletic skill and could be a candidate for superstar status. Most players perform really well in one area but are weaker in another – a player who is a talented fielder but a poor hitter, for example. Five-tool players seem to have all the best abilities consolidated into one human force. Enterprise cloud computing adoption can generate improvement in multiple skills in the company, making businesses faster, more powerful and more productive, according to SAP Innovation. Adopting firms can do things like stimulate innovation and decrease costs at the same time. They don't have to sacrifice building their business in one area in order to focus on another.

Stock the farm system with IaaS clouds
The secret to many great baseball teams is a strong farm system. Drafting and trading well can build a talented, highly capable group of young players ready to bolster the team, so that when a club needs a helping hand, they can look inward to their own resources instead of having to acquire another organization's player. Companies can work with cloud service providers to implement IaaS clouds into their infrastructure, which develops a strong foundation of resources and operations from within so that the business can be more agile. Young players can also be better molded for future challenges. One of the issues that IaaS integration faces is finding IT personnel who have skill sets optimized for IaaS, according to ReadWrite. Once IaaS is fully integrated, personnel can enhance their existing skill set to help the business function better.

Reselling clouds: a sign-and-trade that benefits everyone
Both companies and baseball teams with abundant resources will be attractive to their peer organizations. Teams often engage in a sign-and-trade, a practice where a team signs a player in order to immediately trade him to another organization. Similarly, businesses can leverage white-label clouds into stronger partnerships with other companies that are seeking cloud services.