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The last time I wrote about the marketing shenanigans that companies get up to I was castigated by one correspondent who claimed that this was not analysis. True—but it is informed comment—and analysts are probably better positioned to see, and point out, the murkier side of marketing than most other people.
Here is a case in point (though not one including any nefarious doings). In February, Cognos put out a press release about one of its customers, HypoVereinsbank AG (HVB), the second largest private-sector bank in Germany, which had won the Gartner BI Excellence Award for its BI implementation. At the award ceremony, HVB presented details of its “Active Credit Portfolio Management” implementation, which leverages Cognos’ business intelligence software and which was selected as the winning case study.
Cognos went on to say that “HVB was able to develop a new business model to more effectively manage corporate loan portfolios based on market pricing models and credit derivatives. As a result, HVB is able to avoid large risks, diversify risk, optimize the risk/return profile, and generate additional income.” It then went on to quote Eckart Schroeer (sic), director, head of information management at HVB as follows: “In addition to redesigning our business models, we revolutionized our technology infrastructure with Cognos. The Cognos solutions enabled us to evolve our business and position us for growth in an exploding market environment.”
Then a few days later SAS put out a press release about its customer, HypoVereinsbank (HVB), a leading German bank, which had won the 2006 Gartner Business Intelligence Excellence Award, using SAS Data Integration Studio to build a data warehouse platform for the company’s Credit Portfolio Management division. SAS even quoted the same Eckart J. Schröer (sic): “We are pretty much using all of the various IT systems that the IT world has ever produced. The easy and transparent connection of the various data sources convinced us. No vendor other than SAS was able to provide us with the same capabilities. Our portfolio manager can take advantage of the successful integration of additional sources that are quickly accessible to them and made possible by our data management solution provided by SAS.”
The bottom line here is that there is more than one side to any story. There certainly is in the following one, which relates to an article that recently appeared on Bloomberg.com called “Oracle Shares Decline After New Database Sales Miss Estimates” (sorry about all the capitals). As a part of this article Safra Catz, Oracle President and Chief Financial Officer, was quoted as saying that “I can’t remember the last time we lost to IBM”.
Now, I have a list of wins that IBM made over Oracle last year and with the advent of products like xkoto (see my recent article) to compete with Oracle RAC and the forthcoming Viper release of DB2 this list is likely to get longer this year than last.
However, back to the point: Ms Catz either has a very short memory, or she is being disingenuous, or she doesn’t have much interaction with the sales process. As CFO it is probably the last of these that is true but whatever the reason the moral is clear; be wary of anything that any vendor says—spin is rife.