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Thursday, March 11, 2010

For Enterprise IT Companies, the Value of the Cloud Goes Beyond Technology

If you’re a PR pro, securing coverage for your technology company, or client, in the top business publications has always been a crowning achievement. It’s the type of coverage that puts wind in the sails of a PR professional, not to mention what it does for the company itself. Of course, I’m talking about positive business press coverage. When it happens, the company CEO might walk the halls of his or her company with the coverage under one arm, showing off the story in good old fashioned black and white to anyone who glances in their general vicinity. It might be a thoughtful quote from a top company executive or a quote from a financial or market analyst that included mention of your company’s name. Perhaps the business article merely states the name of your company along with the competition. It’s all good.

When The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, BusinessWeek and other top business publications call, a company’s communications department typically puts the brakes on whatever else it is working on to focus on the great opportunity at hand. Historically, the bigger the company, the greater and more frequent the interest from the business press. In the past, IBM or HP or Motorola had a better chance than smaller companies did of having their story heard by the big business books.

That was then. This is now.

A recent report by ITDatabase reveals that the behemoths of the tech world aren’t getting their proportionate share of business press coverage. And companies several rungs below the largest tech companies, but still generating several billions of dollars in revenue each year, are rarely if ever mentioned by the business press – at least looking back at the last six months.

Take for example BMC Software, a $2B company which received only a half dozen business press mentions in the last six months, according to the report. Or CA (aka Computer Associates) with only 10 business press mentions to show for its $4.2B in revenue, says the report.

The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Forbes, Fortune, BusinessWeek, The Economist, The Financial Times and USA Today were included in the survey. Company print and online mentions and blogs run by the participating publications all were taken into consideration.

“Enterprise IT is woefully underrepresented, despite being the cash-cow in the industry,” notes Dave Rosenberg, who blogs on disrupting the software market and is an adviser to ITDatabase.

While it’s not so surprising to learn through the report that Google and Apple are very well represented in the eight business publications, the delta in coverage between companies like Twitter and Facebook (the shiny new toys) vs. the icons of the tech world -- IBM, HP, Dell and Intel, Oracle and Cisco – is significant.

Rosenberg asks if it’s “reasonable to expect that tech categories (no matter how dry they might be) receive attention proportionate to the revenue they are driving? Or is biz press tech coverage about entertainment?” He said readers gravitate to stories about their favorite brands and are interested in the “latest and greatest” technology trends.

For enterprise IT, the latest and greatest trend today, and anytime in recent memory, is cloud computing. A simple Google News search on “cloud computing” this morning displayed 15,368 results and includes coverage in the big business books as well as second tier business publications, like The Chicago Tribune.

Just today, The Wall Street Journal ran a story about CA’s purchase of Nimsoft, another cloud computing company.

Enterprise IT is jumping big time on the cloud computing band wagon. And thanks to cloud computing, the business media is beginning to have a harder time staying away from enterprise IT companies.

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