No – it isn’t you. It is becoming more and more difficult to extract any meaning whatsoever from marketing material and web sites created by technology suppliers, and particularly those selling business intelligence type products.
This information overflows with phrases such as ‘speed of thought’, ‘ease-of-use’, ‘no need for IT’, ‘business user empowerment’ – and on, and on, and on. It seems these suppliers have got so lost in their marketing spiel, that they have forgotten the simple notion of describing what their products actually do.
We get pages and pages of patronising statements about how easy it all is, how we can become analytics superstars with no skills whatsoever, and how businesses have been transformed because they could create a few charts.
All of this shows a total disconnect between the marketing departments in these organisations and the needs of customers. I know from talking with real people in real businesses that the marketing spiel usually causes irritation, and sometimes offence. We can only assume that the marketing folk either do not understand their products, and so disguise their ignorance with generalised waffle, or they are embarrassed by the dull reality of what their products actually do – create charts, reports and dashboards.
In fact there is an inverse law here – the more dull the product, the greater will be the flights of fancy in the marketing material. After all, if you have a really interesting product that can do some truly amazing things, then surely that is what you would want to communicate. A good example can be found in the statistics and machine learning domain. R is the most widely used analytics platform in the world – and yet not a single scrap of marketing material has ever been created to promote it. People use it because it is useful, and extremely good at what it does. Contrast this with the new, venture funded business intelligence platforms, many of whom will fail when the current feeding frenzy expires, where dull functionality (you can create a chart and put it on a dashboard) is tied up in marketing bows and ribbons to look like life changing technology.
This amplification of the trivial is a sure sign that things are getting over-extended. We await the shake-out and a return to some sort of sanity.