Cloud vs. SaaS: What’s in a Name?

I am sure I am not the only person who noticed that a certain SaaS CRM provider has changed its tagline to “the enterprise cloud computing company” – whatever that means. But it does make me think – what are actual IT buyers thinking when it comes to the cloud: does it mean the same thing as SaaS in their eyes?

And does SaaS, or Cloud or whatever, simply mean to them – to buy or to rent?

This article does a nice job of pointing out the obvious – or maybe not so obvious – that choice in application deployment and management is the real focus for discussion. Choice must exist – whether it is between vendors (pure play SaaS over traditional models) or with providers offering options (like SugarCRM).

I would hope that Cloud computing will begin to differentiate itself as a concept that mainly involves distributed computing and application power, ready at the flick of a switch and sold as a subscription. I also hope that the Cloud does not wind up being too synonymous with SaaS – but I assume it will be for some time.

But most important, when it comes to a CRM or other application system, it is nice to know there are still choices out there – both in terms of vendors and delivery/administration options.