Taken from Editorial by Martin Vilaboy
Channel Marketing Magazine

Anyone who has witnessed the blank stare of a client during an acronym-filled answer to a technology question understands how those inside the communications business easily can forget how terms and abbreviations common to us are like a foreign language to most everyone else. Sure, when dealing with CIOs and IT departments of larger firms, sales and marketing personnel can stick with the insider lingo. When the recipient of the pitch is a small business owner, however, it’s likely best not to start a discussion by explaining how a solution “can layer US using SIP to work with CPE,” and how it “beats the price of their ILEC.” A lack of understanding of how technology can help SMB customers can be an obstacle. For example, an SMB may be slow to adopt cloud-based services primarily because it doesn’t understand it.

Despite the fact that cloud talk and technology have dominated industry trade shows and new production introductions for the better part of a decade, SMB executives are still in the dark. With this in mind, Albert Barron, an IBM software client architect, came up with a way to break down the basics of cloud computing service models using the example of making a pizza. Barron’s “pizza as a service” chart is arguably one of the most straightforward and easy-to-understand methods for explaining the differences between software, infrastructure and platform as a service and how they differ from a premises-based solution – all in one quick glance.

The basic idea is that customers have many options when craving pizza. They can make a pizza at home, in which they are responsible for buying all of the ingredients and making the dough (premises based). Or they could purchase some of the components and use pre-made dough (IaaS). Cravers could also simply get take-out pizza where they only need to provide a table and maybe the drinks (PaaS). And finally, similar to Saas, they could simply hit a restaurant for some pizza and have everything taken care of by someone else.

“In each case, you’re still having pizza, however, in some cases you do all of the work and in others you have someone else (sic Comtel) do the work for you,” blogs Barron.

Not only a powerful tool for anyone considering cloud computing, Barrons model illustrates how IT departments and CIOs might explain the options to their businesses.