Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Cloud Commercials Illuminate and Obfuscate

For some time now . . . almost two years . . . I've been saying that you need to introduce your clients to cloud computing before someone else does. What's that someone else? Well, for starters, your business partners Intel, Microsoft, IBM, and Rackspace. Well the time has definitely arrived.
Consider some of the commercials and videos out there on the internet. Let's say a client gets interested in one of those Microsoft commercials. That takes them to You Tube, which takes them to other videos. Consider what they're "learning" about cloud computing.

First the MS commercials:

That commercial is NOT geared toward your average customer. It's geared toward businesses that don't exist, don't have money, and are hoping an angel will come in and make them rich.

Which is fine. But they're probably not your current clients.

What your clients will get from this: A bit of excitement. A bit of jargon. A general sense that cloud is good.

I am reminded of very early advertising for laptop computers. The big appeal was that you could work at the beach. But the CEO making the decisions didn't want his employees working at the beach, so the message was not well received.

These Microsoft Commercials seem totally geared toward micro-sized companies who will be steered toward BPOS rather than the larger companies who need Azure.

Next up, IBM:

IBM might not be one of your key partners, but I include it here because I first saw this on an airplane with a captive audience. It is a perfect example of how one of your customers might "learn" about cloud computing while traveling for the holidays.

This commercial is an interesting mix of "workload optimized service management platform" jargon and real human speak. It's not about HOW the cloud works, but all about what you can do with the cloud.

Then there's our good friends at Intel:

What is cloud computing and how does Intel fit in? Well, this commercial claims that Cloud is just a buzzword for internet-based services. I don't think that's particularly helpful. Again, this commercial is a combination of techie speak and simple examples.

This particular video has a pretty good description of how you just call the cable company and get telephone, audio, video, and internet services delivered almost instantly. Cloud computing is just another utility service.

Another popular service your clients have heard of, is So whether users or not, they might view the video:

You have big ideas . . . Streamline your business and drive sales through the roof.

This is actually a really good overall business-focused intro to cloud computing. Do you need a data center with office space for every application? No. Just use an on-demand product that is simply "there" all the time.

Again, the combination of descriptions that make sense (call technical support but they can't fix it) and enterprise jargon (solution stack). Overall, this commercial is clearly focused on the enterprise business space. They are not appealing to small business, even though they make a nod in that direction. I suspect "small" means under 250 desktops.

One more example . . .

Over at Rackspace, the approach is more technical and more down to earth:

This video is all about private vs. public clouds. It gives a very straight-forward description that your clients will understand and then immediately addresses the security questions that are so hot for some clients.

Overall, this is good stuff for you. Probably a little dry for non-techies. But your clients will understand it and get a sense that someone has actually addressed the issues they're concerned about.

Note: There are also plenty of videos about other cloud solutions, including Zenith's Cloud offerings (see You Tube or MSP TV. But your clients are not likely to stumble upon these. Here I just wanted to focus on stuff your clients might serve themselves.

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The Bottom Line

Your clients are already hearing about the cloud. If you don't have answers for them, others do. "Others" includes AT&T, Dell, Microsoft, and 1,000 other companies who will be happy to take a credit card this afternoon.

What are your clients' impressions of cloud computing? Are they realistic?

And what are you doing to educate them?

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