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Don't trust vendors

commentary Howard Dresner's recent remarks about the -perversion" of the term business intelligence (BI) by certain vendors really drives home a harsh reality of the ICT sector.Organisations must -own" the definition of terminologies involved in corporate projects such as BI or customer relationship management (CRM), or find themselves hostage to the mercenary agenda of their suppliers.
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Written by Iain Ferguson on
commentary Howard Dresner's recent remarks about the -perversion" of the term business intelligence (BI) by certain vendors really drives home a harsh reality of the ICT sector.
Iain Ferguson, News Editor, ZDNet Australia

Organisations must -own" the definition of terminologies involved in corporate projects such as BI or customer relationship management (CRM), or find themselves hostage to the mercenary agenda of their suppliers.

Dresner - who coined BI more than a decade ago -- told ZDNet Australia this week some vendors had dressed up their basic query and reporting tools as BI solutions, deliberately ignoring the broader meaning of the term and its implications for business.

BI was in fact intended, he said, to describe how end-users could access and analyse information stored on their company systems to provide a better understanding of the business and its customers.

Today, he said, BI should be as much about dealing with difficulties as about reporting them, Dresner added.

Your writer wonders how many customers have been suckered over the past few years into thinking they were implementing a BI solution when they were actually getting a rebranded query and reporting toolset.

It's a sad fact of life that ICT suppliers are desperately eager to coin new terms and shamelessly redefine them as they go in an effort to shift more equipment or services.

This makes vitally important the ability of customers themselves to define the desired outcomes of a project and satisfy themselves of the capacity of a supplier to deliver on those.

That supplier should obviously then be tied contractually to deliver products or services that underpin those outcomes, with no latitude to claim it has delivered something it has not or argue that a task integral to the project is a chargeable "extra" that falls outside the original terms of the deal.

No amount of smooth talking from a snake-oil salesperson trying to ride a wave of hype to make a sale should deflect a customer from determining what it really needs and how it plans to achieve that.

What ICT terms have you seen coined, bastardised then superseded? Have you or your company been suckered by a vendor pitch? E-mail us at edit@zdnet.com.au and let us know.

Iain Ferguson is the News Editor of ZDNet Australia.

To take your opportunity to vent about what's bugging you in enterprise technology, visit my and ZDNet Australia journalist Steven Deare's blog here.

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