Product or Service?

Is Cloud Computing a Product or a Service?

Does it seem strange to have a picture of a bespoke suit as the headline for this article? The process of having a custom suit made is a unique middle ground between a product and a service. The experience of having a tailor come to your home or business to take measurements and help you select the materials and styles of a suit is a once in a lifetime process for most people. Then the end result is a suit you wear, but also a story you get to re-tell about the experience.

A service is where you give yourself, belongings or information to be processed as the input for operations

Products are usually

  • Tangible
  • Delayed consumption
  • The quality is easy to measure

Services are usually

  • Intangible
  • Immediate consumption
  • Quality is difficult to measure

The criteria used to select, rate, purchase and optimize a product vs a service are different, so as a consumer you need to identify which you are purchasing. Google, Microsoft and Amazon both list their items for purchase under the “products” tab on their websites. We commonly refer to these items as PAAS (Platform As A Service) or IAAS (Infrastructure As A Service). Even the naming is confusing.

My opinion is that Cloud Computing has two parts to be a complete solution. The product is the cloud provider (Amazon, Microsoft, Google, etc.) and the service is the provider you choose to work with. The face of enablement. This may be an external 3rd party consultant like myself, it may be your internal IT staff, or a mix of the two. Selecting the right team is critical to the overall satisfaction of the solution.

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