Buzzwords, Swear Words, ERP, and You

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Heh heh. The Global Language Monitor (GLM) has released its Top 10 Most Confusing High-tech Buzzwords of 2008.

Meh. You won’t find any buzzwords on the TEC site, I thought to myself. We run a clean shop here. But then I thought I’d match GLM’s list to actual buzzword occurrences on the TEC site.

Here’s what I found:

Cloud Computing: 10 results
Green washing: 1 result
Buzzword Compliant: 0 results
Resonate: 20 results
De-duping: 2 results
Virtualization: 134 results
Web 2.0: 84 results
Versioning: 68 results
Word Clouds: 0 results
Petaflop: 0 results

OK, not bad, but not completely buzz-free, either. Just to give you some perspective, “software” returns 7,720 results on the TEC site, “ERP” returns 4,820, “solution” returns 4,140, and “accounting” returns 2,740.

I decided to turn to George Carlin for some straight talk on software selection.

George Carlin, you may remember, died this year on June 22, and—besides his notorious “Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television” routine—was famously and chronically disgusted with bafflegab, doubletalk, and buzzwords of all kinds.

If you’re not familiar with Carlin, here are five of my favorite Carlin quotes—along with a translation for software selection purposes, naturally.

Top 5 George Carlin Quotes (for Software Selection Purposes)

1. The Beatles’ latest record, when played backwards at slow speed, says “Dummy! You’re playing it backwards at slow speed!”
Software selection lesson: You’d be surprised how many organizations do, in fact, conduct their software selection process backwards—by first selecting a vendor, and then going through a lengthy and expensive process to justify (sometimes) and implement the selection. That’s not a recipe for success. See how one company managed to get it done the right way, in spite of everything.

2. Honesty may be the best policy, but it’s important to remember that apparently, by elimination, dishonesty is the second-best policy.
Software selection lesson: No lesson here. It’s just funny, that’s all. Tangentially related, though: How a Jerk at Work Can Put the Kibosh on Your ERP Software Selection Project.

3. Not only do I not know what's going on, I wouldn’t know what to do about it if I did.
Software selection lesson: Sadly, this could be a direct quote from any botched software selection process. One of the very key elements of implementing a new system is user buy-in. If your users are excluded from the software selection process, managing the switch-over to the new system can be a nightmare scenario. See How to Kill Your Software Selection Project in 10 Very Easy Steps, step 1.

4. Some people see things that are and ask, Why? Some people dream of things that never were and ask, Why not? Some people have to go to work and don't have time for all that.
Software selection lesson: “I just don’t have time for that” is an oft-heard rationale for not conducting a thorough definition of your business processes prior to selecting a software system. Yes, it takes time and resources. Yes, it can be excruciatingly painful. But it’s essential to positioning your implementation for success. See Taking Measures for True Success: How to Choose Software That Meets Your Needs.

5. The very existence of flame-throwers proves that some time, somewhere, someone said to themselves, “You know, I want to set those people over there on fire, but I'm just not close enough to get the job done.”
Software selection lesson: Here’s Step 1 of every best-practice software selection process: define your objectives. Don’t let the software vendor define them for you, unless you want to risk having absolutely no leverage when contract negotiation time rolls around.


In closing, just thought you should know that George Carlin’s famous seven swear words actually anagram to a dire software selection warning:

ERP kicks us, trickiest stock theft occurs: much fun!



(May as well round off this blog post with my personal choices for TEC’s best software selection articles from 2008.)

Taking Measures for True Success: How to Choose Software That Meets Your Needs

Four Ways to Botch Your ERP Implementation Process
A Guide to Selecting Process Enterprise Resource Planning Software
How a Jerk at Work Can Put the Kibosh on Your ERP Software Selection Project

Best holiday wishes to all of you!
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