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.