“Windows,” says the confident lady, peering into the television screen after adding the finishing touches to a flawless family photo, “gives me the family nature never could”.
It’s an extraordinary statement, but so too is the idea Microsoft is pitching. Cloud computing is nothing short of a revolution in the sky, and the company has taken it to the masses with a heavyweight of an advertising campaign designed to pique the interest of consumers and small business operators alike with its dead-simple promise of life-altering renewal.
But there is a middle step here, before the world at large can meaningfully occupy this cloud — and it’s got opportunity written all over it.
It is one thing, after all, to be intrigued by a catchy television ad in which good looking people make swift and effective use of some nifty new idea in their own edited-for-public-consumption lives. But it’s quite another to find practical application for the stuff in your own technologically beleaguered existence.
Enter the clever VARs (Value-Added Resellers), with their hot air balloons, jet packs and telescopic ladders to bridge the gap; the knowledge and powers of explanation that will facilitate customers’ ascension to this next level of productivity and deliver to them the same ease of use their picture-perfect TV counterparts apparently enjoy.
With the suppliers having introduced the promise then, our job as VARs is to help the consumer realize its potential, to offer a hand up to the cloud and an introduction to the myriad possibilities that await her there.
Microsoft released another “To the Cloud” commercial last week, this one featuring a Christmas scenario in which a grandfather is allowed easy access to a video resident on his grandkids’ remote computer. This is the fourth such cozy, mass-media-powered assault in which Microsoft takes direct aim at a television audience that is presumably intrigued, but somewhat confused by what is apparently yet another layer of complexity requiring its mastery in this computer-driven world.
The software giant’s multipronged advertising campaign, which follows the introduction of its Office 365 service, also employs print, outdoor, online and radio initiatives. Throughout, the message sings of the triple threat that is public cloud, private cloud and cloud productivity.
But the impressive and apparently expensive initiative (it’s expected to cost Microsoft several hundred million dollars), which will feature three of Microsoft’s core cloud computing technologies—Office 365, Windows Azure and Windows Server Hyper-V—hovers in a state of potential incompletion without VARs’ meaningful participation in driving the point home.
To these middle folks falls the job of exposition, explanation, erudition. Ever mindful of the kneejerk assumption of many consumers that “cloud computing” is just one more buzz phrase, VARS must take under wing these would-be customers with dedicated counsel on this notion of web-based computing that promises much to the enhancement of their lives.
In other words, without a flock of VARs taking committed flight now, on the downdraft of the advertising campaign Microsoft has so masterfully given wings, consumers will be denied full ascendency into the clouds.