It’s not hard to find online commentary declaring that a particular piece of technology jargon has gone out of fashion. All too often the folks writing these posts seem more interested in being provocative rather than accurate - trying to make themselves appear to be ‘ahead of the curve’.
That said, terms do go out of use, sometimes even when they still accurately describe an existing technology. For instance, every person I work with has a “personal digital assistant” – but no one uses that term.
Is it ‘Software as a Service’, ‘SaaS’, or ‘Cloud Computing’?
Recently, I’ve seen some a few posts declaring Software-as-a-Service and SaaS to be outdated terms. At the same time, the replacement and all encompassing term that seems to be the trend — Cloud Computing– is being contested. Is it a superset of SaaS (or DaaS, IaaS and PaaS for that matter)? Is it something different altogether as Joel York discusses in a recent blog titled “Hey SaaS Experts — What’s Your Cloud Computing IQ?” or Ray Wang in his post titled “Understanding The Many Flavors of Cloud Computing and SaaS“.
So I decided to look for some data to see what popular terms people are using to gain a sense of the trends. In an era when selecting the right SEO keywords can be critical to getting visibility, this isn’t just an exercise it is being au courant.
What the Numbers Say — ‘Cloud Computing’ in the Lead
Here are a few statistics, based on frequency of use over the last month:
Media (Google News)
- 2,164 – SaaS*
- 2,163 – “Software as a Service”
- 4,974 – “Cloud Computing”
Blogs (Google Blog Search)
- 18,752 – SaaS*
- 7,617 – “Software as a Service”
- 70,000 – “Cloud Computing”
- 12,531 – SaaS**
- 2,632 – “Software as a Service”
- 23,612 – “Cloud Computing”
Searches (Google – monthly searches based on average of past 12 months)
- 550,000 – SaaS
- 246,000 – Software as a Service
- 550,000 – Cloud Computing
Keyword Cost Per Click (Google Adwords estimate)
- $2.36 – SaaS
- $7.26 – Software as a Service
- $0.05 – Cloud Computing
(That last CPC figure for Cloud Computing looks suspiciously low to me.)
While it looks like the industry is coalescing around Cloud Computing as an umbrella term – even though there is ambiguity about its specific meaning - other terms are still in regular use, especially SaaS, which leaves people 136 characters for tweeting!
For now, I plan to use Cloud Computing as the umbrella term to include all of the following: SaaS, DaaS, IaaS and PaaS. As the industry settles on specific nomenclature, I’ll adapt. That said, whether you call it “Cloud Computing” or I call it SaaS, it all represents disruptive innovation.
Which terms are you using?
*Since this term has alternate uses, I excluded articles that didn’t also include “software” somewhere in the copy.
**See note above. There may be some “noise” in this number, since I couldn’t sensibly exclude “software” in a 140 character tweet.