Following Up On 'Claims and Conjecture' - InformationWeek

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3/18/2010
09:10 AM
Doug Henschen
Doug Henschen
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Following Up On 'Claims and Conjecture'

Last week I posted a blog about "Claims, Conjecture and Outright Lies." It generated a lot of comments as well as soul searching on the part of PR professionals, software marketing types and, I'll admit, myself.

Last week I posted a blog about "Claims, Conjecture and Outright Lies." It generated a lot of comments as well as soul searching on the part of PR professionals, software marketing types and, I'll admit, myself.

First off, I'll admit that my headline was a bit too sensational given that I never wrote (or honestly believed) that anybody was guilty of lying. In that blog, I chalked up assertions from Jitterbit and Cast Iron executives to "out-of-date or incomplete information." So thinking twice, I took "Outright Lies" out of the headline a day or two later to soften the tone. That won't be the first time an editor was accused of using a sensational headline, but it tarred reputations with a too-broad brush.One reason I was sorry is that both Ilan Sahayek of Jitterbit and Chandar Pattabhiram of Cast Iron were understandably upset. Sahayek immediately apologized and said he had been misinformed about Informatica capabilities. Anybody reading his message would cut the guy a break.

Pattabhiram, meanwhile, stood by statements about Informatica On-Demand and said he was specifically talking about native connectivity within that environment. He even sent links to PDF documents still available on the Informatica Web site about the limits of integration capabilities within that product.

Upon investigation, it turns out that document was out of date. As I pointed out in my original blog, Informatica On-Demand was replaced last September by Informatica Cloud Services. The new offering includes the Informatica Cloud Platform, which gives developers cloud-based tools to handle native-API integration. I'd encourage Informatica to purge its site of old documents to prevent customers from being confused.

One thing I'll say in Pattabhiram's defense is that it was I who "pressed him" (as I wrote in last week's blog) to detail what were initially generic statements about "the competition." So if had it to do over again, I would have used a tamer headline and I might have even genericized the examples and not named names. However, as I reported, these two takes on a competitors' product were wrong. And I certainly would not have changed the whole point of the blog, which is that it's best for vendors to stay focused on what they know best: their own products. Darren Cunningham (who works for Informatica, by the way) offered great insights on "not talking about the competition" in a comment on my blog and in a blog post of his own. In this case, comments about the competition led to two blogs that were entirely about the competitor!

One last bit of soul searching on my part: A couple of people commented about undue reliance on my part on vendors and analysts and not enough on customers. I took those comments to heart. I often do try to inject customer perspectives, even in news stories written under deadline pressure. When it's a new product, however, there's no way customers can comment. Beta customers and those quoted in press releases tend to be handpicked by the vendors, and you rarely hear real criticism.

As for the MicroStrategy-IBM Cognos BI performance debate, existing customers really could have brought something to that discussion, so I'm sorry I didn't dig deeper. Without much trouble, a Web search turned up this Cognos Community site, where a search of "slow performance" yielded a number of possible customer leads. I couldn't find a similar MicroStrategy site, but you can bet I'll dig deeper when and if a competitor calls something about that vendor into question. Hopefully, as Darren Cunningham encourages, they'll let their customers talk about the competition.Last week I posted a blog about "Claims, Conjecture and Outright Lies." It generated a lot of comments as well as soul searching on the part of PR professionals, software marketing types and, I'll admit, myself.

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