It’s no secret traditional news organizations are struggling to stay relevant today in an age where an always-connected generation has little use for newspaper subscriptions and nightly news programs. The Associated Press (AP), the world's oldest and largest news cooperative, is one such organization who has felt the threats which this paradigm shift carries and thus the need to intensify its innovation efforts. However, like many organizations today, its in-house IT Ops and business processes weren’t versatile enough for the kind of innovation needed.

"The business had identified a lot of new opportunities we just weren't able to pursue because our traditional syndication services couldn't support them," said Alan Wintroub, director of development, enterprise application services at the AP, "but the bottom line is that we can't afford not to try this."

To make AP easily accessible for emerging Internet services, social networks, and mobile applications, the nearly 164-year-old news syndicate needed to provide new means of integration that let these customers serve themselves and do more with the content — mash it up with other content, repackage it, reformat it, slice it up, and deliver it in ways AP never could think of —  or certainly never originally intended.

In my recent Forrester report I discuss how AP created its API platform, an SOA architecture merging Windows Azure and Amazon Web Services, to achieve the above, and in doing so, bring products to market faster, provide even greater flexibility to its partners, and more rapidly prove out new business models. It’s a classic case of agile development leveraging self-service capabilities and not being constrained by the status quo.

What’s your cloud use story? Share it with us and we’ll help spread the word in next year’s best practices report.   

— Christian Kane contributed to this Forrester report and blog.