Web 2.0


What’s an Aascronym? We’ve all seen them. They keep some IT-types awake at night with annoyance… while others lie awake trying to think what the next one could be. Is it PRaaS? Is it UaaS? Whatever it is, it probably won’t stick.

Not all Aas is Fine Aas
So what’s hot, and what’s not? Which Aascronyms are common currency, and which ones aren’t worth the five seconds it took some small-time software vendor in Belgium to dream up? It’s difficult to formulate any absolutely reliable metric, but I’ve sorted the top ten as-a-service offerings by the current number of Google matches for the term.

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1. SaaS
Software as a Service; about 2,870,000 Google matches
Software-as-a-Service is the most commonly-known aascronym. It’s no coincidence that it’s also probably the easiest term to understand: it’s simply software such as you would find on a CD, only accessible as a service through the Internet. The standout example in the enterprise space is customer relationship management (CRM) software, with Salesforce and NetSuite both strong offerings. Salesforce has very aggressively promoted its adoption of the tag “Software as a Service” though there are countless examples to be found on the web.

2. PaaS
Platform as a Service; about 1,260,000 Google matches
Platform-as-a-Service providers give developers a starting point from which to develop web applications – and usually an environment in which to sell them. Again, CRM is an easy-to-understand example: both Salesforce and NetSuite’s platform-as-a-service offerings let developers code extensions and sell them to users through the website. In this way a cloud eco-system is created where useful applications float to the top and the actual software-as-a-service application is enriched. (Remember, one of the criticisms of SaaS is its supposed lack of customisation.)

3. DaaS
Data as a Service; about 490,000 Google matches
“Data warehousing as a Service” and “Desktops as a Service” have been put forward as possibilities for “DaaS,” but if the number of Google SERP matches are anything to go by (2,190 and 7,350 respectively) it appears they haven’t caught on. Data-as-a-Service is a huge business need; not only is data and business intelligence becoming ever-important in recession, but the cost of data is generally prohibitive. A new breed of (possibly value-added) data-as-a-service companies are offering access to datasets “as a service,” getting data into applications at once-dreamt-of costs.

4. IaaS
Infrastructure as a Service; about 183,000 Google matches
Infrastructure-as-a-service is the outsourcing of physical infrastructure to the cloud. According to Wikipedia: “Rather than purchasing servers, software, data centre space or network equipment, clients instead buy those resources as a fully outsourced service.” The best-known example is Amazon’s EC2 , or “Elastic Compute Cloud”. The huge advantage with IaaS is the rapidity with which businesses can ramp up their operations – there is less expensive outlay for servers and other equipment.

5. IDaaS
Identity as a Service; about 60,800 Google matches
Identity-as-a-Service aims to devolve user identity and access management into one discrete service. Fischer International are one example of a company with some success in this area. This aascronym might not be used all that much but it’s a solid example of a defined term describing a granular, loosely-coupled function (in other words, a service all in its own right).

6. XaaS
X (anything) as a Service; about 56,000 Google matches
It’s interesting that XaaS isn’t used more. Maybe too many people couldn’t stomach proliferating yet another aascronym purely for the sake of describing aascronyms. XaaS is simply a term for “anything as a service,” coined I believe by Scott Maxwell, whose YouTube video demonstrates the lengths to which the average blogger will go to coin another neologism.

7. EaaS
Everything as a Service; about 44,300 Google matches

See: XaaS.

8. HaaS
Hardware as a Service; about 38,400 Google matches
Hardware-as-a-Service is pretty much the same as Infrastructure-as-a-Service. In fact, type it into Wikipedia and you’ll be redirected to IaaS. This aascronym has probably bitten the dust, pushed out by one of its rivals. I donlt think anyone will be sorry to see it go.

9. AaaS
Anything as a Service; about 33,400 Google matches
See: XaaS.

10. MaaS
Monitoring as a Service; about 14,700 Google matches
We’re really starting to get towards the bottom of the barrel now. I’m losing the will to live.
IT infrastructure monitoring as a service may include vulnerability assessment, log management and intrusion alerting. It doesn’t seem to have caught on so well so it seems that perhaps a lot of companies would rather this was all going on behind the company firewall. My prediction is that upcoming in-house black-box offerings will oust MaaS once and for good. Another problem with MaaS is that it doesn’t lend itself so well to being a granular service in the first place.

The Pretenders

11. CaaS
Communication as a Service; about 10,100 Google matches

We’re at the end of the list now and personally, I think this one is junk. Hasn’t communication pretty much always been offered as a service? Since when did we go out and actually buy phone lines? There’s even a subscription for regular TV. This seems to me to be a term invented by VoIP vendors who are fudging the fact that communication infrastructure has always been provided as a service.The people that are pushing these terms are probably out of luck. Usage is negligible.

These are just as pointless (and noone uses them):
EaaS – Ethernet as a Service
PRaaS – Processes as a Service
UaaS – Uptime as a Service

Conclusion
One trouble with these terms is the inevitability of vendors latching onto a term and remorselessly beating everyone round the head with it until it’s accepted; I could probably be accused of the same thing (in fact, I have!) This is all well and good, but a more worrying habit is the suppression of terms by vendors who have a vested interest in whatever competing aascronym they have trademarked.
Can anyone tell me why DaaS doesn’t have an entry on Wikipedia, while UaaS (Uptime as a Service) and a raft of other equally pointless terms do? I tried correcting the omission myself only to be slapped down by the Wikipedia admins. Ho-hum.

If you have any more aascronyms, please email them to me. I’ll be glad to add to the list. The worse the better.

So, ‘fess up. Who still doesn’t “get” Twitter?

This blog post derides Twitter, saying: “Did you lose your minds? Get a job. Are you that bored?” Well, I have a job, and that job’s in PR – a sector where Twitter is invaluable (hey, you can follow me if you like… I’m @PostcodeJim).

The gauntlet has been thrown down and I’m picking it up. Here are five reasons why Twitter’s great. Much kudos to the “PR Warrior” for his great post, which I have stolen from somewhat.

Five things you can do with Twitter right now:

1. Win friends…

Public relations depends on meeting people. It’s ridiculously easy to follow and communicate with everyone under the sun on Twitter. Someone who won’t have time to write a letter or reply to a blog post might send you a Tweet. It’s a lightweight “in” with people. The beauty of Twitter is that it’s a communication medium with very little friction – messages can go viral in an instant because it’s no effort to pass the messages along. The power of that is extraordinary.

2. … and influence people

Twitter is a medium that influences other mediums. Want to make the mainstream? Use Twitter, which has an established aim to be the “pulse” of the internet, and by association, the media.

3. Build your network

Twitter is “networking on steroids”, according to Trevor Young. What is PR without contacts? It’s one person talking to themselves in a badly-lit room. Don’t let that be you.

4. Search trends

Twitter lets you keep on top of current trends quickly and easily, before people have had the time to write any web pages on the subject, and way before Google has the chance to spider it and serve it up on the results pages.

5. Pitch

Hacks and bloggers hang out on Twitter. They do, so tough. Don’t argue with me. Want to talk to them? Get to know them with a few Tweets and make them a pitch. If they don’t like it, who cares? It was five minutes out of your day and five seconds out of theirs.

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The conclusion

There’s so much more to Twitter than meets the eye. Download Tweetdeck or some other utility so you can get the most out of it and start connecting with people: ultimately, that’s what it’s about. You can also share Twitter accounts and schedule Tweets with CoTweet.

Twitter’s just like everything else: you’ve got to have a reason to use it. As far as I can see, there are two main users of Twitter: business self-promoters (PR and the PR arm of business) and self-obsessed individuals (the average consumer or celebrity). If you don’t fall into these two categories, give up. It’s a great invention but for a lot of people, no matter how long you stare at it (and here’s a good video tutorial), no magic is going to come out of the box. If you think it will… Twitter isn’t dumb, you are.

Edit: It’s just come to my attention that Twitter has just launched a “101 for marketers.” If you’re one of the 55% of marketers who don’t know what Twitter is, head on down to class!