It's not easy to get past all the tech gobbledygook and make customers understand the benefits of the cloud. But Microsoft has done it by asking a simple question: what would your office do with the extra space if you could get rid of your server room?
To show the benefits of Microsoft Azure’s cloud computing, it worked with kiwifruit exporter Zespri and after a Dragon’s Den-style pitch process which discarded some interesting ideas from staff (anyone keen to hit the yobar, a yoga studio with booze?), the team decided on a drive-in movie theatre complete with a yellow 1950s Chevy.
Y&R also created a pop-up book showing some potential renovation options for businesses and pimped out a few elevators as upgraded server rooms.
Microsoft is also using the website to get Kiwi organisations large and small to sign up to attend a series ‘Server Room Reboot’ events where they can learn how to follow in the footsteps of Zespri.
“It’s one of those campaigns that has benefited enormously from the enthusiasm of everyone involved, especially the client," says Y&R managing director Steve Kane. "Initially a brief to come up with a piece of DM to promote Microsoft’s enterprise-grade cloud computing platform, Azure, it became a much bigger creative opportunity to 'make a server room redundant' for real."
Watching movies at work seems like a George Costanza fantasy (or maybe he would have preferred a nap room, a la The Huffington Post?), but Zespri’s global manager of information systems, Andrew Goodin, says using the space for fun underlines a serious point about the advantages to Zespri after it migrated 95 percent of its global SAP platform and other applications to Azure.
“As we grow, Azure gives us the confidence that comes with knowing all our data in New Zealand and the 54 countries where we sell Zespri is secure and managed in regional data centres. The Azure move saves us money now and in [the] future, as technology changes and consolidation options become evident.”
Alas for the George Costanzas at Zespri, the new space will be used for serious work purposes too, as Goodin explains.
“We had the opportunity to refurbish an old, tired, windowless room into a unique space for staff to take a break or have a meeting. Microsoft has fitted the room with a Smart TV so it works as both a high-tech meeting room and breakout area.”
While we're all for the efficient use of space, there is definitely a fine line when it comes to creating cool offices. So let's just hope the cleaners aren't vacuuming up mouse droppings in a few months.