Blah, Blah, Blah Cloud

Blah, Blah, Blah Cloud

You know that a term is being overused when becomes a featured theme in Dilbert. Well, as of January 7, 2011, cloud computing is there.

I have spent a fair amount of time thinking about how many times marketers confuse their buyers and make concepts meaningless by overusing the buzzwords du jour. Yes, enterprises are ready to adopt public and private cloud offerings in a big way. Yes, many are already using cloud-based services throughout their businesses. It still doesn’t mean that enterprises will choose one solution over another just because it has “cloud” in their name.

My recommendations are simple, and they apply equally to cloud computing or any other new buzzword that emerges.    

1. Say what you mean and mean what you say.

If your solution runs on the cloud or powers cloud-based services, say it. If it has some cloud characteristics but doesn’t run on the cloud, describe it using another, more appropriate term like “virtualization.”

2. Keep the focus on value.

Tech people in Silicon Valley may talk about cloud computing all the time, but business people still need to be reminded of its value. Keep it front and center. For example:
  • It allows us to bring you software at a lower cost
  • It speeds up deployment to end-users
  • It increases flexibility and global reach
  • It eliminates unnecessary capital expenditures
  • It lets IT focus on innovation and working with the business
  • It eliminates unnecessary carbon emissions (well, Microsoft did an interesting study that showed this but the jury may still be out ...)
3. Remember the buzzword bell curve.

What happened to “core competencies”? “on-demand”? “web services”? I rarely see any of these buzzwords in use today. And even “Web 2.0” is fading (I wrote about how this one was being misused way back in 2006). Similarly, IDC predicts that “cloud computing” will go in decline in 2012, as measured by search volumes. So think about how long you want your marketing messages to last.  

4. Whenever possible, call irresponsible competitors’ bluffs.

There are more ways to do this than ever before. Educate and arm your sales force. Help them educate buyers. From your blog to Twitter to article “talkbacks,” get the word out.