Microsoft’s Essentials Backpack

I just had to put something up on my blog about this as I think it has to be one of the best ideas I’ve seen in a very long while.

The other day I was having a quick scout on Microsoft’s website about their new SQL Server 2008 database system. I’ve been reading for ages how apparently brilliant it was going to be so I thought I’d read up a bit on it. What I found was the Essentials Backpack.

“Who cares?” I hear you all cry and who am I to stop you? The essentials backpack is a simple but I think brilliant idea. Put simply, its a compressed file containing information that someone who just wanted to know what the product was all about can download.

Inside the backpack are things like a podcast about the product, a videocast, a case study (McLaren Electronics – the guys who make all the engine management units for all the F1 teams no less), a whitepaper detailing the product and so on. Basically, an information pack, using multiple delivery methods to get you up to speed on the idea of SQL Server 2008 and its basic principles.

Whether Microsoft were the first to have this idea I don’t know, what I do know is that its simply a brilliant bit of marketing, a way of getting people the information you know they’ll need if they’ve never seen your product before, in one place. Who among the IT or any other community for that matter hasn’t experienced the sinking feeling that is trying to find out about a product but not knowing where to start? The Essentials Backpack completely solves this issue in one elegant (and surprisingly small) download.
Have a look at it on Microsoft’s SQL Site, its the Essentials link on the right.

I for one can see the value of backpacks for numerous uses. Working as I do at a college, I can see it as a useful, downloadable resource for our students starting this month. Travel details, student handbooks, podcasts by our events and sports team, all of this could be available to our students in a single download containing all the information the student does or doesn’t know they need.

Its a simple idea but by ‘eck is it a good one! 😀