Analysts accused of confusing the BI and CPM markets

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Content Copyright © 2006 Bloor. All Rights Reserved.

CODA’s CEO, Jeremy Roche, recently accused analysts, like me, of confusing the market for BI and CPM products.

“Much of the hype around CPM, a term coined by industry analysts, is confusing,” he railed. “It makes life very confusing for businesses looking to address performance management issues.” Well, this is one opinion. I believe a few points of clarification are in order.

Firstly, analyst interest and general hype is good for market demand. Hype drives customers to investigate “what is going on” and to visit vendor web sites and engage with vendor sales executives. This is no bad thing for the vendors I would suggest.

Secondly, analysts serve to clarify the market not to confuse customers. This why in the latest Bloor report on CPM I have included a section on ‘Differentiating CPM from BI’, and why I published a recent article on this site entitled ‘CPM and BI: Market Trends Compared & Contrasted’.

Thirdly, was the term CPM coined by industry analysts? I think not. It was coined by the CPM suppliers like CODA who wanted to sell more software and services, and so they created some hype …

Talking of confusing the market, CODA’s own BI and CPM product range is hardly customer-friendly. Clearly differentiating CODA c-Planning from s-Planning, Analytic Explorer from Intelligence, OCRA from Control Architect or Manager or Assessor is not an easy task.

Vendors love to complain about analysts when in actual fact we are a vital cog in creating market demand for their products and services. Customers and the media listen to analysts because we make sense of the market noise. Analysts bring a sense of reality to ever spiraling and often unrealistic supplier sales claims as they desperately try to differentiate themselves from one another. If suppliers spent a little less time trying to prove who is the alpha male with the fastest and bestest technology, and a little more time working truly collaboratively with customers to deliver economic customer value, the IT market as a whole would benefit.

In the case of the CPM market, few of the somewhat extravagant sales claims made are validated by robust case studies and happy reference customers who are prepared to talk of SAP-like enterprise roll-outs. One CPM market leader, who shall remain nameless, recently fielded a fashion retailer to talk on their behalf. It transpired that the retailer used the product to consolidate 130 linked Excel spreadsheets and were now up to the heady heights of 18 users with their new CPM product.

It will always be an uneasy and difficult relationship between the IT vendors and the analysts. Analysts pride themselves in their independence and unbiased reporting of the facts, which does not always marry to the Quarterly sales targets of the vendors, which may be disturbed by an unflattering analyst appraisal. Both vendors and analysts play an essential role in creating market demand, so let’s just agree to disagree sometimes, and take the rough with the smooth, as in any good partnership.