The Cloud By Any Other Name


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The Cloud By Any Other Name

  1. 1. The Cloud by Any Other Name Focus Research ©2012 All Rights Reserved
  2. 2. The Cloud by Any Other NameSince its inception, The Cloud (as a term) has been bandied about and attached (as a definition) toany number of concepts. But, has The Cloud been become the New Coke of its generation? Or, moreaccurately, has it become a generic term that once had the cachet of a brand-name (think Kleenex)?That’s the concept behind a question from Lori Janjigian at Focus, who asked: “Given how tired we all areof cloud-this and cloud-that, what new names would you use for marketing cloud-based services?”So, what’s in a name? Is it that “The Cloud is a cloud is a cloud”? With all apologies to Gertrude Stein,the experts at seemed to feel that renaming The Cloud would be reinventing the wheel. TheCloud, indeed, is the cloud—and we’re stuck with the name. But there are some ways to stand out in acrowded market without having to come up with a new name.NBS’s Christine Crandell says it’s too late to differentiate yourself by fooling with naming conventions.Instead, she thinks companies should focus on the outcome their solution provides. “Why go there?”she asks. “Cloud is a delivery and storage mechanism. Unless you’re selling some kind of metered billingsystem for storage consumption or processing, tagging a replacement for Cloud won’t differentiateyou. Focus on the ‘outcome’ your buyers achieve when adopting your solution. Buyers are shopping forspecific outcomes that happen to come from purchasing A, B, or C technology. Focus on the outcome;that will be way more effective than some snazzy marketing word for cloud.”Todd Larsen, CEO of Limitless Technology, is on the same bandwagon. “End of the day, the answer ‘Whocares?’ is probably the most correct,” he surmises. As he sees it, “cloud” has been the descriptor for15-plus years, and has meant different things to different audiences. The term isn’t what differentiatesyour service or solution, Larsen says, it’s the explanation: “The term is not the issue; it’s the explanation ofthe services to the client that matters most. … It’s really the rent vs. buy, or OPEX vs. CAPEX, that createsthe financial difference. This is why The Cloud is so attractive to many. But not all.”Actelis Networks’ Prakash Nagpal seconds Larsen’s thoughts, and suggest that companies “find a way tocommunicate value to the end customer without the catchphrase of the day—in a manner that is simpleand easily understood. Customers are looking for value, and in several instances using the catchphrase ofthe day only serves to confuse them.”SummaLogic’s Robert Keahey has a hunch the market will simply work itself out: “I think the market itselfis taking care of this on its own,” he says. “A quick survey of some of the major IT technology and servicesplayers seems to indicate that ‘cloud’ is now a generally accepted term for this service delivery model.Some are relegating it to a sub-menu item, which is by no means a scientific analysis, just an observation.The Cloud by Any Other Name Focus Research ©2012 2
  3. 3. So I don’t think we really need another name for cloud-based services. Besides the industry is movingon to Big Data, Analytics, and Software-Defined Networking. Remember when virtualization was the hottopic? Ah, the good old days!”Finally, Swift Current Marketing’s David Tomen bravely takes the plunge, offering up his new and improvedname. “There can be a perception problem using the word ‘Cloud,’ ” he admits. “How stable is a cloud?‘Wispy’ comes to mind. ‘Vault’ might be a better choice from a marketing perspective.” Cloud vault,anyone?What do you think? Does “The Cloud” need a makeover? Has the term become meaningless, or is theconcept behind the name simply too nebulous to be wrapped up in a two-word moniker? Weigh in withyour thoughts in the comments below. Alec Wagner is a writer, editor, custom content specialist, and content marketing professional. A former managing editor of, he has trained his eye on the enterprise technology space for more than a dozen years. A longtime digital nomad, he divides his time between San Francisco and the South of France. He remembers to thank The Cloud daily for enabling his globetrotting ways. Mr. Wagner also enjoys lively debates about how warring tribes (be it business vs. IT, dev vs. ops, or sales vs. marketing) can find ways to work together better. He is of the opinion that the old chestnut, “There’s no ‘I’ in ‘team,’ ” is quite hackneyed, yet altogether true.The Cloud by Any Other Name Focus Research ©2012 3