You’re Moving to the Cloud, Right?

Do you know anyone who is not using Google docs?  Can you name a company that isn’t talking about the cloud? The movement of software, apps and content to the cloud can no longer be seen as a paradigm shift but instead an accelerated change. Two weeks ago SAP agreed to acquire online software provider SuccessFactors, showcasing just how much cloud products are threating conventional software.  The Wall Street Journal reported that industry watchers saw an urgency to the deal because of the 52% premium the software giant paid for the relatively small Silicon Valley company.  Forrester, Gartner and IDC predictions for 2012 include “more cloud” and a Cisco study predicts a twelvefold increase in cloud traffic.

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Here at Greenough we are experiencing the cloud first hand.  And I’m not just talking about our deft use of Google docs.  Our IT clients are reinventing themselves, retooling their software and developing apps to keep pace with business demands.

Take our client Numara Software: They recently launched Numara Cloud, making their “conventional” software available via the cloud.  Seems easily enough, right?  Wrong.  Moving a traditional software company, or any company for that matter, to the cloud requires strategic initiatives and proper planning. Numara spent endless hours revising code, testing software and updating services.  And, working right alongside our client, Greenough expertly stitched together Numara’s stories to drive awareness, rise above the noise and ultimately increase sales.

If your company or client is in the midst of this transition, keep these thoughts in mind as you sketch out your cloud-related PR/marketing/communications strategy and tactics:

Messaging: Offering your products via the cloud isn’t a strong enough storyline in itself. Instead, you’ve got to explain to the media what you bring to the table (cloud) that’s new, different, etc., from your competitors. Better pricing? Faster application speed? Other differentiators?

Customer case studies: Explaining how Company A now gets their software via the cloud isn’t strong enough—you’ve got to go into detail about why they made this change, all of the issues it solved, any new issues it created (and how they solved for those) and as much ROI as possible.

Advantages to IT: As more and more software is distributed via the cloud, you’ve got to move beyond explaining the general benefits to IT (save IT resources, increase security, etc.) and start getting into very specific details regarding the issues you solve for IT, such as by application, by user, by industry, etc.

So, as you move your business operations to the cloud, make sure that you dedicate the proper time and resources to your cloud-related communication strategies.  This way your move to the cloud will be sure to stand out above the rest.

Jennifer Hrycyszyn is a vice president of account services for Greenough. Send her an email at jhrycyszyn@greenoughcom.comor follow her on Twitter: @hrycyszyn