Sally is a really busy person – more vendor yap (anti-buzzwords)

Had a week full of vendor meetings and presentations this week, captured some random thoughts:

  • Bad Buzzwords 1 – I definitely tune folks out when they use the word “cool” to describe some piece of technology – how 1990’s. The weird one came this week from a older gent, representing a fairly large company that has mixed hardware and professional services areas. A true moment of cognitive dissonance to hear that one.
  • Bad Buzzwords 2 – Another one – probably a pet peeve of mine, maybe not for most folks – is the old “disparate systems” rap. That so reeks of EAI high concept junk words. I once wrote an RFP that specifically prohibited the use of the phrase; nobody violated the provision, but nobody asked about it either, so they have no sense of humor or don’t read the things.
  • Here’s a classic – sexist examples of use cases / scenario building. We were looking at CRM packages, and the idea that most status reports were being handled by “Sally the receptionist” typing the stuff in. In a later conversation – different vendor, same product area – “Sally” had at least graduated to rep level. I wonder who this archetypal Sally person is, she has really left a strong impression on the world.
  • Bad Buzzwords 3 – I like calling vendors on the carpet when they use buzzwords to make their product a mandate. Best example, but this was a few weeks ago, was the hardware vendor that pointed out their enhancement would increase bus throughput from SAN storage to the CPU – helping with SarbOx compliance. Oh? Which specific requirement included hardware speed in support of tight financial controls? That one was actually fun, my Tech Ops director said I was in rare form.
  • Similar situation this past week with one of the CRM vendors. They held that their analytics engine was a unique competitive advantage over the other folks. Exactly how? I wondered; all the examples shown were quite similar to the transactional report samples shown earlier in the day. No obvious answer sprang to mind, but within a minute or two he mentioned something fairly key, and I pointed out that he had stumbled upon the exact reason why their engine was better – the ability to perform complex trending over time.
  • Note how the reps will often parrot the words you use when describing your situation or what the critical success factors are for a given project. In a conversation earlier this year, I learned another rep secret is to mimic the seating posture of their target, to increase the sense that you are of the same mind / personality.

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James MacLennan

... is the Managing Partner at Maker Turtle LLC, a digital consultancy focused on creating value in ways that align with your strategy and drive engagement with employees, customers, and stakeholders. He is an active creator, providing thought leadership through on-line & print publications, and public speaking / keynotes.