Cover Image for Get your head out of the cloudCloud Kingdom Bill Dickinson. Licensed under CC-BY-NC-ND.

Get your head out of the cloud

It is coming for your business. It will fill your executives with buzzwords and confusion. Your managers will feel savvy speaking about it. You will get a headache hearing about it. The cloud is here and you will never be able to have a conversation without it again.

In all seriousness though it is getting ridiculous. I was in a meeting recently with some people from Salesforce and they corrected me when I spoke about Exact Target. It is now called "Marketing Cloud". What does that even mean?! Exact target was a great name whereas Marketing Cloud sounds like someone wanted to use buzzwords but didn't quite understand what their software did. I feel as though every company offering enterprise software solutions feels the need to call as many things cloud as possible. For example: Oracle has the Oracle Service Cloud (or a product line or something, honestly I don't think they even know what is going on). There is a Microsoft Cloud, Apple has an iCloud, IBM has IBM Cloud - the cloud for business (whatever that means), cloud financing and cloud security services. Salesforce has a cloud for everything - sales, analytics, marketing, service, their logo is even a flipping cloud! I could keep going but I think I have made my point.

I don't know how these companies are trying to differentiate their products because they all sound and look the same.

"Someone was speaking to me about Service Cloud the other day, sounded cool" exclaims Timmy,
"Oh cool, what Service Cloud? Salesforce, Oracle, Microsoft or IBM?" asks John
"Err, not sure, their logo was a cloud though..." responds Timmy.

It seems that any software that requires an internet connection now is "Cloud enabled". Software as a Service (SaaS) is now a cloud something, or a SaaS cloud. Cloud is buzzword gone berserk - white fluffy pillows full of corporate jargon.

So what exactly is cloud these days? Basically anything that relies on the internet. Technically though, what really is cloud? Cloud computing is the result of turning computing power into a utility that can be accessed on demand. It removes the requirements for organisations to invest and maintain infrastructure. The internet is powered by Cloud providers like Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure etc (sidenote - I actually really like Azure, it is very easy to use). However the meaning of Cloud has been distorted from this to the point that people don't know what it means. Cloud computing isn't a simple concept to grasp, especially as computers and servers had such a physically presence and computing power as a utility is quite an abstract concept comparably.

I think that cloud fever originated due to the fact that people didn't really understand it from the beginning and still don't. Cloud computing started gaining momentum and then people started preaching the cloud gospel. The problem was that most people heard about it, heard it was great, didn't understand it, but wanted it. Marketers saw an opportunity and then everything on the internet became a cloud something.

Now, I am in no way saying cloud is bad. I think in this day and age if your core business is not in running servers and IT infrastructure you should be utilizing cloud computing or at least heavily considering it. I am just sick of the cloud buzzword fever.

If you are naming a new product please try and avoid calling it a cloud whatever. At least be clever and call it a nimbus something. Get your head out of the cloud.

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