Get Yer Buzzword On: Marketing Law Enforcement Technology

Posted on 16 June 2011 by


It started at LEIM when I was speaking with a Laserfiche; as I wrote yesterday, Laserfiche “…specialize in taking the printed output of all your disparate systems including CAD, RMS and GIS, placing them within a single digital bucket, and allowing you to classify, sort, search, store, print, and aggregate (if not correlate).” That’s not, of course, how Laserfiche says it. They say:

Laserfiche’s agile ECM approach provides a powerful enterprise framework to add value, increase productivity and improve governance across multiple lines of business. Instead of purchasing multiple siloed applications to address particular use cases, Laserfiche provides an ECM foundation to handle all content-related processes, from A/P processing and contract management to revenue cycle management and more.

Oh. Yeah, that’s what I meant to say.

One of the things I used to do on my personal blog a few years back was transcribe the crap vendors say about what they do, and then place it online. Like

“I commit to you to let you know and keep you informed, and the analyst community informed, of this kind of information because this is a key part of our missionary market phase. We’re in a missionary market phase right now. So let’s see if we can’t tighten this cycle time up in a little while…All right guy?”

This morning, thinking about this, and some vendor nonsense I had seen recently, I tweeted:

I was gratified to see an immediate (if small) response:

This seems funny (at least to me – leveraging cross-functional tiger teams for net-net gains is genius) but is in fact a serious problem.

Law enforcement agencies are not typically the most tech-savvy of organizations, and when vendors use euphemisms, jargon and sheer marketing crap to describe what they do – when they refer to “solutions” and not products (remember, a “solution” solves the problem. How many problems in your agency have been solved by buying a piece of technology? Industry analyst firm, The 451 Group outright bans its use), they don’t help matters, they confuse the issues.

It doesn’t have to be this way. IBM speaks English when it sells its products:

Effective public safety depends on collaboration and reliable communications. Public safety solutions from IBM create a reliable way to keep all agencies in touch, whether securing people, data, property and infrastructure; solving crimes; or dealing with natural or man-made disasters.

There’s nothing wrong with that. This runs on a continuum. For example, if that IBM blurb were at the far left, this Tiburon copy is moving towards the center:

Tiburon technologies are built for the mission-critical demands of Public Safety & Security. Our comprehensive technology platforms enhance operations, communication and information in order to optimize daily efficiency, minimize agency risk and maximize mission success.

Now, get your shovels out as we move waaaaaaaay over to the right:

The Incode product suite empowers local governments to execute day-to-day business functions with efficiency and ease. This extensive suite of software solutions provides everything a local-level government needs, from finance management software to a HR management solutions.

You hear that? It provides everything a local-level government needs! So happy it takes care of that pesky rodent problem we have down on B street, and deals with the low water-levels of our reservoir. This suite is empowering! Note that it doesn’t say what it does – but it helps me execute day-to-day business functions with efficiency and ease. Those are power words. Those are administrator words. Those are the words of a real command presence.

Those are the words of a marketing charlatan.  Not to mention the stupid typo (“to a HR management solutions”).

So in the immediate future, I’ll be working to bring you the finest in leading vendor-based , best-of-breed, best-practices jargon and gobbeldygook, for your viewing pleasure.

Let’s circle back offline and close the loop on that as an action item.