If you\u2019ve been reading a lot about quantum computing recently, you likely have a few questions.\n\nSome of those questions may be about how quantum computing works. After all, it is very different from other kinds of computing. (You can learn a little about the basics in the recent CIO article Are you ready for quantum computing?)\n\nYou probably have one other very important question: What can quantum computing do for my business?\n\nUntil recently, most of the conversation about quantum computing has been academic. Researchers have been focused on getting the technology to work and engineers have been building systems with more qubits.\n\nNow the emphasis is starting to shift to actual use cases as organizations take a closer look at quantum.\n\nIn a recent conversation, Victor Fong, Distinguished Engineer at Dell, and Michael Robillard, Sr. Distinguished Engineer at Dell, offered their thoughts on what quantum computing can do for businesses. The short answer is that quantum acts as an accelerator, allowing computers to complete some kinds of processing much more quickly than has ever been possible before.\n\nTo understand what that means, Fong and Robillard recommend that organizations get started by examining the technology. They laid out three steps they believe companies should be taking today:\n\n1. Discover the potential of quantum computing\n\nYou may not have quantum computing experts on your staff today. That\u2019s okay because your competitors almost certainly don\u2019t have any quantum experts either. Only a small group of people currently have the expertise to be considered true experts in quantum computing.\n\nFortunately, you don\u2019t have to be an expert to get started.\n\nThe first stage of preparing your organization for quantum computing is to do some foundational research. Look up some introductory guides. Read some articles. If you don\u2019t know where to begin, Dell has a Quantum Computing Resource Center with white papers, analyst reports and recent news about quantum.\n\nBe prepared to be a little confused at first.\n\nQuantum computing is fundamentally different from the classical computers you use every day. Quantum computers rely on the principles of quantum mechanics, which Albert Einstein once described as \u201cspooky action at a distance.\u201d Quantum computing might seem strange \u2014 maybe even spooky \u2014 at first. But it operates by some basic rules that you can understand.\n\nThe computer hardware is also quite a bit different than what you\u2019re used to. Quantum computers store information in qubits. Qubits operate at atomic scale, which means they are very, very small. They are also quite delicate. Small changes in the environment, referred to as \u201cnoise,\u201d can easily disrupt the system enough that it cannot function as intended.\n\nDeveloping and deploying systems built around these minuscule, sensitive parts is both difficult and expensive. But engineers are also developing simulators that mimic how quantum computers work. These simulators can be used to experiment with quantum.\n\n2. Identify some quantum use cases for your organization\n\nOnce you understand the basics of quantum computing, you\u2019ll be ready to start brainstorming ways that your organization can use the technology. \n\nNot every computing problem is well-suited to quantum processing. You wouldn\u2019t want to use a quantum computer to do any kind of calculation that has one right answer. For example, you shouldn\u2019t use a quantum computer to calculate your tax bill or process your payroll.\n\nOn the other hand, quantum computers can be very good at solving optimization problems. If you need to choose the best answer from a group of possible right answers, quantum computing may be ideal.\n\nSome organizations are already experimenting with quantum computing for a variety of use cases:\n\nEven if you aren\u2019t in one of these industries, you probably have similar use cases where quantum computing would be helpful. The key is to look for situations that are difficult to model because of a large number of variables. You also want use cases that are intrinsic to your business, where improving operations would have a large impact on your bottom line.\n\n3. Deploy a test case.\n\nBelieve it or not, it\u2019s not too early to start experimenting with quantum computing.\n\nAnyone can download the open source Qiskit software development kit (SDK) that allows you to write code that will run on quantum systems.\n\nA few vendors already offer access to quantum systems, although using these systems for experimentation can become expensive quickly.\n\nMany people find it more affordable to begin by testing on a simulator. Quantum simulators use classical computing hardware to simulate the operation of quantum systems. They allow engineers to keep costs low while perfecting the code that they want to run on the quantum system. Simulators can also alleviate some data privacy concerns, and they eliminate the previously mentioned problem of quantum noise.\n\nFinding the right tool for the job\n\nDifferent kinds of computers are a little like the different kinds of saws you might use for woodworking. You can do most kinds of cutting with a standard circular saw. In the same way, a classical computer can do most kinds of calculations.\n\nBut some kinds of woodworking \u2014 like intricate scrollwork \u2014 are almost impossible to do with a circular saw. For that, you would want a jigsaw or even a scroll saw. And while you can do miter cuts with a circular saw, it\u2019s a lot easier with a miter saw. A quantum computer should be thought of as a specialized tool. It won\u2019t ever replace classic computing, but it makes some specialized tasks a whole lot faster and easier.\n\nWhile engineers have made a lot of progress designing and building quantum computers, we\u2019re still in the early days of the quantum era. Right now, quantum computing isn\u2019t right for a lot of situations.\n\nBut as time goes on and the technology improves, quantum computing will become a better choice more often. And organizations that have already begun experimenting with the technology will have a head start.\n\nThat\u2019s why now is the time to get started \u2014 learn more about quantum computing, identify test cases and begin to experiment.\n\n***\n\nRead more about Dell Technologies Quantum Computing here.\n\nRead more about Intel Quantum Computing here.