Don’t Get Sucked in By Impressive Words!

It’s conference season, and that means marketing overload for many vendors. And there’s a few words the doctor is hearing a bit too much and he’s NOT impressed! So what are these words?


Digital. Digital Procurement. Digitized. Digitized Procurement. Digitization. Ugh. They’ve been using variations of the same word for almost 20 years — and despite claims to the contrary, the meaning hasn’t really changed. You’re analog, or you’re digital. There’s no degrees to digital.

Look at the dictionary definition for crying out loud! Of, relating to, or using data in the form of numerical digits. What’s new, or even enticing, about this? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!

Internet of Things

The internet has ALWAYS been an internet of things. Computers are not people. They are computers. The only difference today is that we are sticking computers in more things to collect and transmit sensor data automatically rather than reading it, and entering it into the computer. It’s not the big whoop most companies are making it out to be as most companies haven’t developed much that uses that near real-time in a truly useful way.


It’s not artificially intelligent. It’s cognitive. And the bull crap has reached a whole new level. Let’s look at the definition.

Of or relating to the mental process of perception, memory, judgment, and reasoning.

Yes computers can perceive through sensors, store data in memory, use algorithms to assign, or judge, and use very advanced automated algorithms to reason, but we’re overlooking one key word here. Mental. Computers don’t have a mind, and they are not intelligent. The implication here is that which is cognitive is intelligent, and they are not intelligent.

We haven’t even reached true AI yet in any field and we are supposed to believe that a little Sourcing or Procurement vendor has reached the next, cognitive level of AI development? While a best in class vendor may have a few algorithms that are almost cognitive for a few, select, situations, considering the billions going into AI research and the limited progress most specialist vendors are making, you know we’re not ready to be throwing this term around.

And, an honorable mention (because, while not common in our space yet, it’s coming):


the doctor‘s been seeing this word a lot on social media in marketing and commentary, and, unfortunately, it seems like it’s starting to creep into our space. For those of us that actually went to a real University and have a sound (classical) education, we know that Postmodernism is a rather broad intellectual movement across the arts and fields with applied arts (like architecture and archaeology) based on a philosophy that takes us from the literary-influenced philosophy of modernism to a post-modern way of thinking that developed in the middle of the last century and reached wide acceptance in the 1980s, when it was a Land of Confusion.

This was the time of the MRPs (and not the ERPs). Do we really want to be associating our new and innovative solutions with that era?

So please, please, please don’t get sucked in by the the impressive words. Instead look for impressive, time-saving, value-adding functions (and forget the feature lists). (But that’s another rant.)