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Scalable Enterprise Buzzword Solutions 357

prostoalex writes "Need a scalable enterprise solution? You're in luck, as those three buzzwords have become so prominent in the technology industry, that they can describe pretty much anything, according to Associated Press. The article later goes on to blame Microsoft and Apple for 'dumbing down' the product descriptions in order to appeal to non-tech-savvy audiences. 'High-tech companies don't release products anymore, they provide solutions. And those solutions don't simply run a program or play a song. Instead, they enable experiences, optimize agility or make people's passions come alive', the AP article states."
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Scalable Enterprise Buzzword Solutions

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  • by danamania ( 540950 ) on Sunday January 16, 2005 @09:34PM (#11382346)
    Apple would never do that, not with Xserves*

    * Do not eat Xserve.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Solutions replaced products long ago - at least 5 years, anyway. Were you in a hole in 1999 during the dot com IPO craze?
    • So what (Score:5, Insightful)

      by EmbeddedJanitor ( 597831 ) on Sunday January 16, 2005 @09:46PM (#11382396)
      Engineers don't have the money and don't make the buying decisions, so there is no need to wrap products up in geek-appeal.

      To sell anything, you have to pitch the product to the person with the signing power. If your target customers are six year old girls you paint it pink and sparkly. If your target customer is a CEO/CIO + board of directors then you dress it up with buzzwords and phrases. Technical details are stuff these folk don't understand add confusion.

      • Re:So what (Score:5, Funny)

        by Guppy06 ( 410832 ) on Sunday January 16, 2005 @10:24PM (#11382583)
        "Engineers don't have the money and don't make the buying decisions,"

        Yes they do, because today's world of scalable enterprise solutions everybody is an engineer! Just ask your local web engineer.
      • by wasted ( 94866 ) on Sunday January 16, 2005 @11:16PM (#11382806)
        I know of small busines CEOs/CIOs that look for specifics. Those that try to sell buzzwords don't get the sale, and salespersons with hardware/software knowledge have a decent chance. Often, though, the small-business IT staff will have found the optimum product(s) to solve the problem and already have the purchase order ready to sign as soon as the problem is diagnosed. That is true adaptability and flexibility in my humble opinion.

        I also know of people who would make Dilbert's PHB look like a genius. I've seen one business with a division that was losing to a competitor in many areas, with their IT lag seriously hurting their situation. That business did not realize that their IT was causing a problem with customers, even though it was painfully obvious.

        I have also met IT sales staff people who were reprimanded for giving specifics (such as cables, switches, routers, hubs, NICs, CDs, and licenses,) instead of using the term "solution" when presenting the cost estimate to the CIOs of companies who were interested in their product.

        I think too many people have sat through too many marketing classes without learning anything, and this is the result. Sales people are instructed to sell a solution to a problem instead of the actual product, and a lot of CEOs and a few CIOs know they have a problem without knowing the cause, and just want a solution. Consequently, solutions have a higher margin than products, even if the product is exactly the same as the solution.

        Or, I could be wrong, and PHBs are only a figment of Mr. Adam's imagination.
        • by Anonymous Coward
          "I know of small busines CEOs/CIOs that look for specifics."

          This just in: it is possible to post to Slashdot from parallel dimensions.

          "I also know of people who would make Dilbert's PHB look like a genius."

          That sounds more like MY universe...

          "Sales people are instructed to sell a solution to a problem instead of the actual product..."

          Actually (and I'm not trying to be funny here, not that I succeeded earlier) a good sales person is supposed to sell a solution to a problem rather than just a product. Th
      • Re:So what (Score:3, Interesting)

        by johannesg ( 664142 )
        While this is true to a certain extent, at least where I work the engineers do check the products out before they are bought. I have been asked numerous times to evaluate specific products to find the one most suitable for a specific job or project. And true, I do not make the final decision, but I would have been very surprised if any of those hadn't gone with the recommended product.

        And if there is anything that causes me not to recommend a product, it is being unable to find decent information on the w

      • Problem #1 (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Moraelin ( 679338 )
        It sorta makes me wonder how did those upper management types start wanting buzzwords to start with. But more importantly, this hurts this industry in pretty perverse ways, not just in the obvious "so the biggest liar gets the sale."

        For example time after time again, we run into the perverse problem that PHBs don't just prefer bullshit bingo to technical specs. They think that technical specs _are_ pretentious bullshit buzzwords.

        For example, if I say that a program is based on MDB (Message Driven Beans) a
        • Re:Problem #1 (Score:3, Interesting)

          by KontinMonet ( 737319 )
          I've come across situations where it's even worse than that - in the opposite direction. A large bank's technical department (usually quite rightly) drove the technical requirements of the department looking at our product.

          But the technical department was completely confused between J2EE and EJBs. This confusion was communicated to the buying department and they then kept accusing us of not understanding J2EE. Our product was being written to J2EE 'standards' but we were not using EJBs.

          Eventually,
          • The "dunno what all those buzzwords mean, but we must have as many of them as possible" kind of mentality. Or as I like to call it: BDA (Buzzword Driven Architecture.)

            They don't know what EJBs are (as illustrated by your example where they didn't know the difference between EJB and J2EE as a whole), but they've read in some IT-for-retards magazine that Sun says EJBs are great. So they must have some.

            And for that matter, XML. And XSLT. (Just writing the data or using a template is soo 1990. Nowadays you _m
      • Problem #2 (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Moraelin ( 679338 )
        The second big problem I'm seeing is: how the heck did we get to the point where CEOs/CIOs buy bullshit that sounds cool without asking someone who knows?

        I mean, for example, let's take everyone's favourite comparison between computers and cars. So let's say a company, (A) produces cars, and (B) wants to make its own brand-new intranet system.

        And here's the funny part:

        (A) to make cars they actually trust the engineers what should go into that car. If the engineers say they need this and that gear or scre
    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 16, 2005 @09:59PM (#11382460)
      Buzzword Translation
      -------- -----------
      Adaptable Product not yet coded.
      Scalable Not scalable.
      Best-of-Breed As good as other vaporware.
      Zero-maintenance Zero-utility.
      Open Works with anything - just not with your systems.
      • I think the translation is a bit different:

        Adaptable: Works equally bad on every type of problem.
        Scalable: Works equally bad on every problem size.
        Best-of-breed: We tried several times, but couldn't produce something better.
        Zero-maintenance: You can't make it work better by putting work into it.
        Open: There are several ways to get our crap.
        Cross-platform: Fails differently on different systems.
        Future-proof: It can't get worse anyway.
        Object-oriented: We expect someone to object against the use of thi
    • by Sique ( 173459 ) on Sunday January 16, 2005 @10:14PM (#11382537) Homepage
      I remember an advertisement selling "Your Problem - Our Solution" about 20 years ago. It was so abundant and the words "Your problem" and "Our solution" were aligned somewhat strange in the design, so we were always forced to read "Our Solution - Your Problem".
  • Need more buzzwords? (Score:5, Informative)

    by IO ERROR ( 128968 ) * <error AT ioerror DOT us> on Sunday January 16, 2005 @09:36PM (#11382351) Homepage Journal
    My favorite: Web Economy Bullshit Generator [dack.com]
    Dilbert-inspired: The Buzzword Generator [luc.edu]
    Yet Another Buzzword Generator [1728.com]

    And there are many, many more buzzword generators [google.com] out there, implemented using open-architected dynamic algorithms by organic radical policies...

  • Hey, at least most of the buzzwords can't get trademarked or patented, so we can feel free to apply the dynamic and scalable application envyronment moniker to our open source SOLUTIONS without being sued... er... litigated against.
  • Dumbing down? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mOoZik ( 698544 ) on Sunday January 16, 2005 @09:37PM (#11382359) Homepage
    I call it being specific. Does it matter to you if a power supply is called a power cube or a consumer energy solution? Seriously though, the ones that provide "solutions" are selling custom products and appropriate services, so it would be difficult to explicitly state what it is that they sell, while the consumer market is uber-specific. MS would not sell you a "solution," at least not in the same sense that it would sell a giant multinational a data management solution. Or something like that.

    • Re:Dumbing down? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Smidge204 ( 605297 ) on Sunday January 16, 2005 @10:31PM (#11382611) Journal
      Does it matter to you if a power supply is called a power cube or a consumer energy solution?

      Yes, because if I read an ad for a "consumer energy solution", I have no idea what it is. How is that being specific?

      Is it a battery pack? Is it a gasoline powered generator? Is it some miniature fusion reactor that I can put in my basement and "solve" my "energy problem" (eg: Paying my utility bills...)? Even "Power Cube" is horrible. Sounds like a game console. "Desktop computer power supply." That's specific - and rather non-techical!

      (I know your post was just an example, but so was mine!)
      =Smidge=
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Ryan Donovan, a Hewlett-Packard Co. public relations director, concedes that terms like "data migration" and "optimizes agility" - both of which are found in the company's press materials - might confuse average readers. But the company uses those phrases in documents intended for technology experts and executives, he says.
  • IBM... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 16, 2005 @09:39PM (#11382365)
    was the world's first "solutions" company. The big-iron dinosaurs -- the DECs, the Amdahls, the Univacs -- were all talking about "solutions" long before Microsoft and Apple.

    All in all, a stupid article from a moron too lazy to do any research.
    • a stupid article from a moron too lazy to do any research.
      How fitting that it be critiqued in a (sometimes) stupid forum by morons too lazy to do any reading. Myself included. :-)
    • Okay, so /he/ is "a moron"... but the PHB who takes the bait after seeing a mission statement 'come up with' using one of those buzzword-generators isn't? Pah!
    • Re:IBM... (Score:4, Funny)

      by Monkelectric ( 546685 ) <slashdot@monkele ... m minus caffeine> on Monday January 17, 2005 @12:30AM (#11383112)
      Microsoft learned most of their tricks from IBM, including FUD which was an IBM invention that Microsoft perfected. Microsoft in some ways is in the same situation as we are in the united states. They cant do *anything* without being critisized.

      Not to say they are without blame -- I remember the pure horror the first time I used Visual Studio .NET and found that it opens not "Project" files like VS6 but "Solution" files.

  • This COO we had loved the word 'leverage', sure enough, after 4 or 5 months since he has been in the company we were 'leveraging' everything, the web, the infrastructure, resourses. You name it - we could 'leverage' it. Then he sold the company to a competitor, which left 50% of employees on the street and moved on to a new adventure. I guess he 'leveraged' us after all. But that is a different story.
    • by jonadab ( 583620 ) on Sunday January 16, 2005 @10:56PM (#11382715) Homepage Journal
      Ah, but what do you want to leverage? Why, solutions, of course. What kind
      of solutions? Enterprise solutions, obviously. And why do you want to
      leverage these enterprise solutions? In order to set the company on
      a critical path to achieve total quality, monetize the bottom line, and
      raise the bar and set the standard for the entire industry, of course. Ah,
      but here's the real question: *how* do you leverage the enterprise solutions
      and set the company on a critical path to do those things? You need a
      gameplan, a gameplan to get everyone on the same page going forward in a
      fault-tollerant and robust expectations paradigm, that's how, because only
      with that kind of dynamic will you really out-compete the competition in the
      new ecconomy. So, we need to revisit our objectives and reorient our goals
      so that we -- all of us -- can accomplish this vision, this future, indeed,
      this destiny. Everyone has to participate in the process, because you can't
      meet the kits if you don't go to St. Ives...
  • by BWJones ( 18351 ) * on Sunday January 16, 2005 @09:39PM (#11382369) Homepage Journal
    The article later goes on to blame Microsoft and Apple for 'dumbing down' the product descriptions in order to appeal to non-tech-savvy audiences. 'High-tech companies don't release products anymore, they provide solutions. And those solutions don't simply run a program or play a song. Instead, they enable experiences, optimize agility or make people's passions come alive'

    It's about flexibility. Well, I started by using OS X simply because it was a more productive OS environment than IRIX, Solaris, Windows or yes, Linux. I could use one environment to run specific scientific code, run Office and Photoshop along with serving up webpages and other high end tasks including cluster computing all in one environment that allowed me to replace an SGI, and a Windows machine with one OS X box. The fact that I could also use iTunes, iPhoto, iDVD etc....etc....etc....allows me to also use them at home and suggest OS X running Macintosh systems for my family who knows very little about computers. If Apple can do that and market to both the high end and the low end with one solution, more power to them.

  • by asifyoucare ( 302582 ) on Sunday January 16, 2005 @09:39PM (#11382370)
    Its becoming impossible to find short product description pamphlets that accurately convey the main purpose of a product.

    If the blurbs do happen to contain technical meat, my mind has usually already become numbed by the spin that has preceded it.

    Its not a new phenomenon, though it is becoming worse - I remember how, during 1999, the fact that a product had anything at all to do with the internet seemed to be more important than its main purpose.

  • by Dancin_Santa ( 265275 ) <DancinSanta@gmail.com> on Sunday January 16, 2005 @09:40PM (#11382372) Journal
    This is the work of IBM and the rest of the "services" oriented consultants. KPMG, Anderson, etc. A group of highly paid morons.

    But in the long run, services is actually the driving force in computing. Products are fine, but upon those products is a whole ecology of companies providing support, enhancement, and integration of those products, tailored for each individual company.

    In fact, this is what makes Open Source software so attractive. It sure as hell isn't good to be the company developing the software, but it is really good to be a service provider using that software. No longer do you need to pay for the software, you only need to pay for support.

    I guess this could be a double edged sword for customers, though. It seems that there would be an incentive to keep OSS as obtuse and inscrutable as possible to maximize support income. This obviously wouldn't happen with a commercial product that has to prove its worth by being easier to use and generally better than the equivalent OSS package, just to compete.
    • I did not RTFA, but even if it is Microsoft, Apple, Open Source or whatever company/individual selling you a product will tout it with tried and tired industry buzzwords that make you want to puke.

      It seems to me if somebody needs to feel important or needs to say a product is better than another no matter what it does is riddled with these pheases that simply drown the real meaning of the product being sold.

      Using Google with the buzzwords I got:

      http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&q=scalab l e+
    • But in the long run, services is actually the driving force in computing. Products are fine, but upon those products is a whole ecology of companies providing support, enhancement, and integration of those products, tailored for each individual company.

      Providing and selling services are completely okay with me, too, as long as it's possible to figure out what those services actually are. Where I have the problem is when the marketing lingo that's describing the product or service is so abstract and

    • by ScentCone ( 795499 ) on Sunday January 16, 2005 @10:27PM (#11382600)
      This is the work of IBM and the rest of the "services" oriented consultants. KPMG, Anderson, etc. A group of highly paid morons.

      Well, as one of those ... um, morons ... I can tell you that the folks you really want to blame are the folks who actually buy the IT and use it. If they had serious IT talent in house, or had their other process/business experts actually working with those folks - they wouldn't need all of us moronic consultants. Of course, the people who need their IT problems solved (um... hence the term "solution"), rarely have the clout to cause the in-house IT shop to be expanded, and even if they could, they'd chop those people right back off once most of the heavy lifting was done.

      Anyway, as long as decent-sized firms need business problems solved with IT, somebody will have to do the work. To the extent that no in-house IT shop can keep the place running and handle large implementations of new tools, software, data, infrastructure... it's us morons to the rescue. And we have to live gig to gig, which means we're not getting paid for 40 solid hours of work every week of the year. We have to spend time finding new work, doing paperwork, and other things that make our actual customer-facing time as expensive as it is.

      Incidentally, we don't use the term "solution" when we're talking about Excel or Word (well, not usually). That language comes out in the context of larger scale (and "scalable," yes) things we bolt together out of the higher-end products.

      Now, I can't comment on which came first (IT's use of the term, vs what follows), but if you talk to the other operations people in a large company, you'll hear about "waste management solutions," "marketing solutions," "entryway security solutions," "fire supression solutions," and so on. Don't succumb to slashdot tunnel vision on this one!
  • by Killswitch1968 ( 735908 ) on Sunday January 16, 2005 @09:41PM (#11382378)
    Nice to see an article that thinks outside the box into new paradigms and synergies.
  • by Neoporcupine ( 551534 ) on Sunday January 16, 2005 @09:41PM (#11382380) Homepage
    When I hear these buzz words I immediately assume that whatever the hell they are selling is not as good as the words may lead you to think. They're saying something but they are hiding something. Damned weasels.

    Give me benchmarks! Give me comparisons!
    • Buzz words = pure crappola. Kind of like the convoluted crap out of Washington, try to read any bill enacted by Congress( of course writing it like that guarantees every lawyer perpetual employment translating it to English). Thats where this started, then the marketing morons got their hands on it and it got a hundered times worse in ten years. It really is a contest to see who can use the most words to say the least.
      • Actually, from my experience, its more a quest to try and write a law to which nobody can twist the text on in order to cheat the system.

        In the words of Professor Slagle, "Laws can be simple, or they can be fair, but they cannot be both simple AND fair."

        This is because the world is not simple either.

        • The actual point of the law reference was that it's a conflict of interest for lawyers to write laws, that they and their peers have to interpret. Congress should be given an eigth grade dictionary and not allowed to use any word not in it.
  • An interview [bomacorp.com] Frank Lingua of Dissembling Associates
  • by colonslashslash ( 762464 ) on Sunday January 16, 2005 @09:47PM (#11382403) Homepage
    "If any of you here are in advertising or marketing..... kill yourselves."

    I have to "interface" with the AdExecs on a regular basis at work, and they are so god damn annoying. Always sitting around "doing lunch" whilst creating "PowerPoints" to present to the upper-echelons of management, showing how they have "factored-in" their latest and greatest "thinking outside-of-the-box".

    Makes me so enraged I want to throw up and shoot them at the same time. Grrr.

    I guess what really pisses me off is the fact that they get paid to do the same basic job I do. Bullshit the bosses ;)

    • [edit]
      I guess what really pisses me off is the fact that they get paid more to do the same basic job I do. Bullshit the bosses ;)
      [/edit]

      P.S. I'd like to welcome our new empowering business-focused fresh-thinking up-sized buzzword overlords.

    • Makes me so enraged I want to throw up and shoot them at the same time.

      Don't thow up at the same time as shooting, it will spoil your aim.

    • This jealousy has to stop right here and now. As an advertising/marketing person, I have to say that you really have no idea what goes on in our world. While I can't say much for them factoring in their latest thinking outside the box scheme (which is what they get paid to do, and figuring out new ways to market the company that haven't been done before is actually a good thing believe it or not), I can easily see you don't see the purpose of our jobs.

      While you think we're piddling around "doing lunch" an

      • by Moraelin ( 679338 ) on Monday January 17, 2005 @07:13AM (#11384208) Journal
        Nothing personal, but I hate the system that created you. More to the point, those idiots you "do lunch" with.

        Business and technical decisions are taken by people _completely_ unqualified, based purely on "oh, I know that guy. We played golf. Let's buy whatever he's selling." Or on "but the nice salesperson said it would solve all the problems, including cancer, AIDS and world hunger." Or here _literally_, and in that manager's own words, a broken product got bought "because it had the nicer powerpoint presentation." (To make it even more surrealistic, a product noone needed.)

        And I've been on the receiving end of that fuck-up entirely too often. Completely dysfunctional "solutions" are bought like that. And then we engineers and admins have to make a completely broken product work. And if it still doesn't, then it obviously has to be our fault. Because the nice salesperson told the PHB that it works, and surely the nice salesperson couldn't have possibly lied to the customer. It must be those mean engineers that sabotage it.

        And even _if_ the problem does eventually get to be acknowledged by the PHB, the next result is more lunches done, more colourful powerpoint foils are presented, and the PHB buys an even more broken v2.0 of the same product. (Or, don't laugh, some PHBs here are looking forward to version 6.0 of a totally broken product.) Surely now all problems are fixed. Because the nice salesperson said so.

        So I can't say I hate you, as such. Where there's a demand, someone creates the supply. I.e., if some PHBs actually want to be lied to and scammed, yep, the system also produced the marketting people who do that. Perfectly normal economics there.

        What I would however like to see fixed is the system.

        For starters, I'd like to see some serious liability in this industry. Because this hiding behind an EULA that says "whatever happened, it's your problem, not ours" is just legalizing bigger and bigger marketting frauds. So I'd like to see people and companies facing a billion sized lawsuit if they mis-represented a product as doing what it really doesn't.

        Also, while I guess one can't outlaw bullshit buzzwords as such, I'd like to see it legally mandatory to clarify (A) exactly what it means, and (B) exactly on what case studies it had that effect.

        E.g., "synergy"? Ok. Between what and what? On what cases did you notice that synergistic effect? And how big was it?

        E.g., "lower TCO"? Fine. On what use case? Compared to what? (Most of this crap would only lower TCO compared to carving that data by hand on stone blocks, like in the Flintstones.) And how much lower was the TCO, then? Does that include the cost of the uber-expensive consultants to make it work, or?

        E.g., "scalable"? Good. Scalable in which way? And in which way is that better than just the plain-old using a cluster and load-balancer?

        Etc.

        Then maybe we'll see _some_ (minimal) honesty in advertising in our lifetimes. And then we nerds wouldn't have to be disgusted by the whole marketting bullshit.
  • Come again? (Score:3, Informative)

    by archnerd ( 450052 ) <nonce+slashdot.o ... s ['ran' in gap]> on Sunday January 16, 2005 @09:47PM (#11382409) Homepage

    Ryan Donovan, a Hewlett-Packard Co. public relations director, concedes that terms like "data migration" and "optimizes agility" - both of which are found in the company's press materials - might confuse average readers. But the company uses those phrases in documents intended for technology experts and executives, he says.


    To exactly which technology experts is he referring? Sure as hell not me.
  • Newflash! (Score:4, Funny)

    by TheOriginalRevdoc ( 765542 ) on Sunday January 16, 2005 @09:48PM (#11382412) Journal
    Advertisers and corporate relations departments produce bullshit... film at 11.
  • Solutions (Score:4, Insightful)

    by kevlar ( 13509 ) on Sunday January 16, 2005 @09:49PM (#11382417)
    'High-tech companies don't release products anymore, they provide solutions. And those solutions don't simply run a program or play a song. Instead, they enable experiences, optimize agility or make people's passions come alive'

    OR, those solutions route phone calls, let you manage and share your calendar or take a picture of your license plate when you run a red light.

    Those buzzwords do have definitions. Its the simpletons in Marketing and PR who try to decsribe shit without understanding what the shit does or how it will be used.

    I've often wondered if the vague descriptions served a another purpose, which is to throw off your potential competition by not telling anyone what you do... Maybe thats why those companies usually have no customers...
  • by Jace of Fuse! ( 72042 ) on Sunday January 16, 2005 @09:50PM (#11382422) Homepage
    After reading the article, I'd say he's basically bashing new jargon because he doesn't see a need for it.

    I would say most of what he sites is pretty silly, but "Scalable?"

    I can't think of a better word to describe something as highly functional as scalable, even if sometimes it applies to things it really shouldn't matter for.

    But we'll take for instance a simple peer to peer file sharing network. Some file sharing networks simply don't scale well to thousands of users, or hundreds of thousands but work really well for a few dozen. So knowing weather or not something like this is scalable enough to demonstrate to a small office, then deploy company wide. Knowing something like that REALLY WILL save you some heartache later one.

    Or how about rendering engines? Some scale DOWN as well as up. A good scalalbe engine means software will drop features on low end hardware, and take advantage of more on newer hardware.

    Some jargon is useful.

    But others are just annoying. I still hate the term "BLOG". We already has sufficient terms to describe most post and forum sites, but the term BLOG implies a specific type and now sites that aren't really blogs are being called blogs by the internet newcomers who don't know any better.

    So ... uh... blah.
      1. I would say most of what he sites is pretty silly, but "Scalable?"

      It's not the words. The words are good. It's how they are used, misunderstood, and misused.

      Fortunately, I mostly deal with people who admit they don't know much of what's out there -- it's silly to claim you do since there's so much tech out there it's just not possible.

      The people who cover up what they do/do not know in an attempt to look "smart" are a big problem. These people either think they know it all or don't want anyone to

  • by teromajusa ( 445906 ) on Sunday January 16, 2005 @09:51PM (#11382428)
    He longs to see the demise of "scalable," for instance, which is tech lingo for something that can get bigger.

    While other things discussed in the article are just plain silly, scalability is a real feature of software. It should be discussed in marketing material, and customers should ask about it if its not. I guess the inability to discern between buzzwords and features extends, beyond marketers and purchasers, to the writer of the article.
    • Every software is scalable. The question to ask is not wether the software is scalable or not, but to what point it is. Because every software is scalable to a point, and every marketer adds it in their product description, it is a buzzword.
  • by quax ( 19371 ) on Sunday January 16, 2005 @09:53PM (#11382430)
    ... find out if a sales guy pushing a "solution" actually has only vapor or something real to offer.

    Just ask him what his "solution" solves for your business.

    Sometimes buzzwords actually work in the customers favor.
  • Whiney bitch (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kevlar ( 13509 ) on Sunday January 16, 2005 @09:55PM (#11382445)
    That guy is a whiney bitch. His examples are totally bogus.

    Enterprise = Anything dealing with corporations
    Scalable = Anything that can support growth
    Blog = Web Log. Its a fucking diary.

    I was expecting to see shit like "Synergy", but "Data Migration"?!? How the hell can you be in the IT industry and not understand Data Migration?

    What a douche bag!
    • The word "synergy" (Score:4, Informative)

      by Linknoid ( 46137 ) on Sunday January 16, 2005 @11:01PM (#11382737) Homepage
      I don't know if the people using synergy actually know what it means, but I'm sick of people on Slashdot treating it as if it's a word without meaning. When two things are synergistic, it means that they produce greater results working together than the combination would seperately. For example, there's a synergy between zinc and vitamin E. If you take either one alone, you won't get the benefit you would if you take both together.
      • by Jerf ( 17166 ) on Monday January 17, 2005 @12:01AM (#11382948) Journal
        I don't know if the people using synergy actually know what it means,

        If I'm reading the cards correctly (on rather scanty hints), the reason that "synergy" has become such a Dirty Word amoung us realists is that while synergy is a real thing and can have outstanding benefits, in its typical use it is almost always indicates a suicide pact in progress. "Synergy" is typically used as the major reason behind a merger, and "synergy" mergers almost always fail because of the underestimation of both companies of the difficulty in merging cultures.

        (Culture is such a soft, fuzzy thing, right, and it couldn't be hard at all to make everything mesh, right? You'd think so, because it's basically impossible to put into words why it is difficult (at least not without it sounding silly or trivial), thus for many people not accostomed to thinking without words it is also impossible to think. Nevertheless, history shows it is so difficult it may border on the impossible for sufficiently large companies.)

        AOL + Time Warner is probably one of the biggest examples of this. Sure, on paper the synergy was mind-blowing. In reality, the combined company was completely unable to execute. (In fact, the lack of execution almost completely boggles the mind.)

        "Synergy" seems to lead a lot of companies to doom; they see the benefits but fail to see the costs.
  • Look at their market. Most people want the computer to be an appliance. They don't care how many "jigga-bops" it has. The PC market started out as catering to geeks, but in order to get the rest of the people to buy their products, they had to sell it on terms they could understand.

    How many people care how many gallons their washing machine uses? A better selling point would be that it can wash 16 towels at one time.

    There are people that like screwing around with technology, and those that just want t
  • by Soko ( 17987 ) on Sunday January 16, 2005 @09:58PM (#11382455) Homepage
    "The marketing people are so bad at hyping their products that, with all my experience, I'll have to read and reread and reread just to figure out what this thing does," says Freedman, founder of The Computer Language Company Inc. in Point Pleasant, Pa.

    I don't even bother with marketing materials any more. I google for "$PRODUCT problem resolved" or somesuch.

    My personal opinion is that marketers should be legally liable for making false or even potetially misleading statements. I implemented a BI/Broker (A Business Intelligence package, if you'll excuse the oxymoron) install, all the while knowing that the thing was essentially worthless without us puting in the intelligence that the thing needed. A simple spreadsheet would have done the same, with less hardware/software/programing. It was OMG Cool to the buzz-word compliant people though, since the marketing weenies did such a good job of hood winking senior management. In the end, the company used 1/4 of the systems functionality, and the rest was done by spreadsheet. Go figure.

    Really, I wonder how 'scaleable' the marketers personal wallets are, after I've spent my employers money of a product that only does half the job I thought it would, and I can recover costs because they lied.

    Marketing is lies, more lies and damned lies in a pretty package so you'll put your money and reputation on the line. The whole premise is to extract money from your companies shareholders and give it to thier shareholders. Remember that the next time a sales weenie takes you out for lunch.

    Soko
    • by Infonaut ( 96956 )
      Marketing is lies, more lies and damned lies in a pretty package so you'll put your money and reputation on the line.

      A company that doesn't let potential customers know about its products will usually die quickly. This is a fundamental business truth that is often obscured by the obnoxious and sometimes deliberately misleading actions of marketers. Think of the number of great applications, for example, that don't do well in the market because the people behind the apps didn't have effective marketing.

  • It's "It just works" campaign attracts people, but when people realize that it doesn't "just work", it requires study and practice, and yes, you might have to fix it from time to time...

    It frustrates people, and it makes people feel like morons. Which they're not, just inexperienced.

  • by QuickFox ( 311231 ) on Sunday January 16, 2005 @09:59PM (#11382463)
    A Win/Win Proposition for Leveraging Strategic Community Synergies

    It is a well-known fact that at the current point in time unprecedented opportunities for leveraging win/win strategies arise through emergent social-dynamics synergies heralding revolutionary technology breakthroughs in world-wide media applications.

    This post presents to the Slashdot community a proposal for an exciting new roadmap that delineates a win/win strategy integrating unique potentials for reaping the benefits of emergent synergistic effects arising from a major paradigm shift in focus group dynamics and from leveraging cost/benefit appraisals in the resulting market-share contribution matrix.

    I think we can all agree that innovative win/win strategies to facilitate the on-going paradigm shifts in market model convergence scenario implementations spearheding cutting-edge technology utilization are paramount to the success of a comprehensive assessment of the emergent Slashdot win/win market penetration focus group convergence synergy potential.

    This revolutionary proposal comprises a visionary win/win scenario for leveraging factors that consume all resources, in other words, resource hogs. The new strategy implements enhanced information flows wherein the resultant rise in information flow constitutes a major asset in the win/win strategy for enhancing countermeasures against this particular type of resource-consuming factor, in that the resultant friction will wash them away.

    This unique win/win/win scenario comprises state-of-the-art paradigm shifts in community-building strategies for leveraging burgeoning cutting-edge visions of innovative synergized implementation models that underscore the win/win/win/win potentials of a comprehensive market-share focus to facilitate the sustainable spearheading of integrated emergent convergence-orientated industry exposures utilizing win/win/win/win/win propositions for heralding the introduction of unprecedented new win/win/win/win/win/win technology cost/benefit appraisals in order to enhance your browsing experience.

    (If you read this post very carefully, you'll notice that if you remove all the buzzwords, what remains is hogwash. Literally.)
  • by Tablizer ( 95088 ) on Sunday January 16, 2005 @10:02PM (#11382475) Journal
    "XML Enterprise Object Network Services 101 with UML in Seven Days for Dummies Super-Bible Unleashed"

    I read it and am now all cleared up. It even removed nasal congestion under 2 minutes and left my nose smelling minty clean with a mild scent of fresh lemon.
  • Huh? Apple? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Titusdot Groan ( 468949 ) on Sunday January 16, 2005 @10:04PM (#11382487) Journal
    Why is this bozo blaming enterprise buzzword bingo on Apple?

    Check out their web page for the Xserve [apple.com]. It's their enterprise product and it's also their most technical page. It has little of their standard marketing flare and is loaded with tech specs.

    I guess that all buzzword and no product stuff is why Apple recently announced Mac mini [apple.com], iPod shuffle [apple.com], iLife [apple.com] and iWork [apple.com].

    I guess they also are not selling big honking displays [apple.com] or yet another version of their iMac [apple.com].

    What do you have to do to lose the buzzword moniker, reinvent an entire industry [itunes.com]?

  • It seems like a lot of this marketing babble does more harm than good. Many times, I've been asked to do research on pre-existing 'solutions', and have passed on companies becuase I couldn't really tell what they were offering. The entire point of using a pre-existing solution is to save manpower. If I have to schedule a 3 hour teleconference just to find out if your product serves my industry, I just might not bother.
  • by Thunderstruck ( 210399 ) on Sunday January 16, 2005 @10:07PM (#11382508)
    I've got your slashdot buzzwords right here in one handy, easy to remember phrase:

    In Soviet Russia, all your base are imagining an ad-hoc beowulf cluster of old korean overlords welcoming YOU!

    Thank you.

  • by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Sunday January 16, 2005 @10:11PM (#11382519) Homepage Journal
    My pet peeve is that, when things go wrong, they're "issues". "Your car has a tree issue" has become the kind of BS we hear every day. They're PROBLEMS. It's OK to have problems - otherwise, who's going to buy your solutions?
  • "Today the PC is often still considered just a tool, but together we need to make it a lot more than that. We need to make it a path to experiences,"
    Replace "the PC is" with "drugs are."
  • The guy actually has a thesaurus (yes, I know Office has one too) propped open on his desk to find better words than the ones we plainspoken people use. Here's some great examples of him:

    -actionable

    -repeatable

    -iteratively

    -resonate

    and my personal favorite "theater of the real"
  • by Anthony ( 4077 ) * on Sunday January 16, 2005 @10:22PM (#11382571) Homepage Journal

    I read his book a few months ago. He talks of the death of public language, how it has been pervaded by words and phrases that have no real power or truth - dead language.

    To quote from the following article Fighting the Death Sentence [theage.com.au]

    "To provide outcome-related research and consultancy services that address real-world issues" - shrieks of laughter. The university's "approach to quality management is underpinned by a strong commitment to continuous improvement and a whole-of-organisation framework" - uproar in the room. The university in question was RMIT but it could have been any of them. Go to your website and read the language, Watson urged guests at a recent Deans of Education dinner. That made people laugh even more. They worked at universities; they knew what he was talking about. Some of them probably even wrote this stuff. It was a surreal moment. But to Watson the joke has a sting. It is funny and it is awful. A terrible thing is happening to the language, he believes, and at the end of the day, in a globalised world, it is not a positive communications outcome. In other words, there is a pox upon our public speech.

  • by topham ( 32406 ) on Sunday January 16, 2005 @10:22PM (#11382576) Homepage

    Whomever dreamt up "Solution" in the IT world should be shot.
    (I don't think it was Microsoft or Apple).

    I had a client who wanted to send invoices out as PDF documents via Email. They have a system in place already that generates Invoice forms on laser printers and wanted it duplicated and produced as PDF/email. (a timeline of yesterday of course).

    So, I call up the company that wrote the Forms software they were already using as their new version supported creation of PDF documents as well as emailing them. Should be easy right? Wrong.

    Couldn't buy the software, instead the company wanted to provide a "Solution", the salesperson wouldn't even give an idea of the price for the 'solutions', but demanded we wade through a web demo with him for an afternoon before it was to be discussed.

    So, after having a little back and forth phone tag / negotiations we said forget it and I found a nice piece of software which could convert PCL to PDF and supported PDF Encryption / Access restrictions.

    Dropped the program onto the server, spent an afternoon making adjustments to the process to add email support and presto; PDF Documents via Email.
  • by WeirdKid ( 260577 ) on Sunday January 16, 2005 @10:30PM (#11382608)
    We've been making fun of this for years [blogspot.com]. My pet peeve of the moment is the over-use of slightly ambiguous statements followed by "from a this-or-that perspective".

    Example: Instead of saying "What is your schedule?" I get: "What is your timeline, from a scheduling perspective?"

    Or, instead of "How is the project going?", I get: "How are things going, from a project perspective?"

    I swear to God that the people I work with can't form a sentence without this. It drives me nuts. That, and people who say "processees". Fucking ignorant.
  • by catwh0re ( 540371 ) on Sunday January 16, 2005 @10:35PM (#11382633)
    Engineers are fine calling things A#2343VF or build no. 86.33.059A.

    Unfortunately those don't sell.
    Marketers on the other hand begin with their job title, "I'm a human to product relationship consultant, my work load is scalable while energising each new solution. etc etc"

  • It is marketing (Score:3, Insightful)

    by fermion ( 181285 ) on Sunday January 16, 2005 @10:39PM (#11382646) Homepage Journal
    And any reasonable person who takes it seriously get what they deserve. It is reducing the rating of the computers perfomance, or even the cars performanace, to a single number. It is invoking the 'single vendor', either as a good or bad thing, to sell MS products. We do not buy furniture, we buy a lifestyle. We do not buy beer, we buy a dudes night out. We show our love not through the daily attention paid to another person, but through the size of diamond or a security system or, as a base, the amount of money we are able to accumulate.

    We know that people buy stuff of spam. I saw a $2 pan being sold as a custom $10 fondue set. MS tells us that employees are incapable of using anything other than MS Windows. Apple tells us that you are a square if you don't use Macs. IBM promises massive profits if you use the complete solution. Sun says that IBM is ripping everyone off. It is game and learning to play it is part of our brand of capitalism.

  • by dbrower ( 114953 ) on Sunday January 16, 2005 @11:04PM (#11382759) Journal
    A "solution" sale leads one to higher "value based pricing", where a technology sale leads one to "cost based pricing".

    For someone on the selling side, it's more profitable to sell value-based 'solutions' rather than technology where he has to compete on price.

    For someone on the buying side, getting a "solution" may be more expensive, or it may be cheaper if one doesn't want to be ones own integrator and support department. You are basically paying for reduced hassle. The trick is quantifying the value of your own hassle, and the liklihood the 'solution' will have its own hassles, and their cost. Different people will evalutate these things differently.

    -dB

  • Legal 101.... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Duncan3 ( 10537 ) on Sunday January 16, 2005 @11:41PM (#11382873) Homepage
    If you let marketing promise things, you will get sued, because that's probably not what engineering built.

    Look at the iPod shuffle, marketing thought it was edible, before the webmaster caught it ;)

    So, let marketing spew their BS, just unspecific buzzword BS, and everyone is happy except the customer.
  • by Nice2Cats ( 557310 ) on Monday January 17, 2005 @12:12AM (#11383016)
    This has nothing to do with computers and everything to do with marketing. In fact, computer marketing is still pretty cerebral compared to what car builders do: Stupid films with their products ripping up the lane markers, stupid films with their pickup trucks getting loaded up to the brim with more rocks than will fit in the average garden...

    Check out how many car ads have semi-naked women running around in them, drooling at the sight of a man behind the steering wheel. Now, I'm the last person to object to semi-naked women, and under the right circumstances, I could probably take the drooling, but just what does this have to do with the product?

    Right, nothing. Pure marketing. I'm sure the time will come when computers will be marketed with sex, too, but until then, keep in mind that we've still got it good.

  • Examples? (Score:4, Funny)

    by Spy der Mann ( 805235 ) <spydermann@slashdot.gmail@com> on Monday January 17, 2005 @12:42AM (#11383174) Homepage Journal
    "experiences, optimize agility or make people's passions come alive"

    Sounds pretty much like sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll.
  • by techno-vampire ( 666512 ) on Monday January 17, 2005 @01:14AM (#11383288) Homepage
    Caffine dissolved in water.
  • by Vo0k ( 760020 ) on Monday January 17, 2005 @02:41AM (#11383528) Journal

    I remember a slogan from Microsoft's leaflet.

    (some MS product) makes your work interesting.

    Note: Not more efficient. Not easier. Not faster. Not higher quality. Not less tiring.
    Exactly: "interesting". As in "WTF? Who would expect that option THERE?!" "Uh.... Not quite what I wanted, but interesting nevertheless". "And what does the picture on THAT icon mean?" "Maybe THIS option will do what I want? No? Maybe this one then?"
    It was really interesting to follow an official Microsoft's troubleshooting guide on some problem, some 60 steps like "open this, click that, select this, scroll down to that, doubleclick this, rightclick that and pick option n, then press button X" only to realize around step 40 that there's no button X where it was supposed to be according to the guide.
    Not really efficient. Rather annoying. Completely futile. But interesting nevertheless.
  • by buss_error ( 142273 ) on Monday January 17, 2005 @10:10AM (#11385280) Homepage Journal
    Technical decisions are so much easier without any technicial people involved. (Dilbert)

God help those who do not help themselves. -- Wilson Mizner

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