Sunday, March 8, 2009

This is rich

I recently wrote an article for ezinearticles.com. It talks about specific buzzwords to avoid on your Web site. One of them is enterprise, when used as a substitute for business, company, corporation, or multinational conglomerate. There's nothing intrinsically wrong with enterprise. It's just sort of a look-at-me-I'm-a-fancy-word substitute for any number of sturdy, serviceable synonyms. It's overused and then some.

The second word I castigated is integrated. Most of the "solutions" out there are not only "effective," but they're also integrated. I hope so, because any so-called solution that doesn't work with what I already have isn't worth much to me. As I mentioned in my article, integrated should go without saying. In most cases, unfortunately, it doesn't.

Flanking the ezine article that gives 20 lashes to enterprise and integrate are several ads, and the title of one that directs the reader to a company called SAS is "Enterprise Integration." How appropriate. When I looked up SAS (pronounced "sass"), I learned that, "Since 1976, SAS has delivered proven solutions to access relevant, reliable, consistent information throughout your enterprise, giving you the ability to make the right decisions and achieve sustainable performance improvement." Wow! I've never seen a clearer example of a lot of sound and fury signifying nothing.

Now, I'm not picking on SAS, because the rest of its Web site is relatively clear. By going deeper, I can find out about its products and services and even about the benefits it provides for its "family." But this positioning statement tells me nothing. I don't know what solutions it delivers. And delivers is a buzzword in its own right. No one makes or creates or supplies anymore. Everyone delivers. I don't know what kinds of decisions the company helps me make.

And sustainable? Oh, save me. It means long-lasting or easily maintained. It's also on my buzzword alert list because absolutely everything today is, or must be seen to be, sustainable.

As I look at this kind of senseless non-communication, I'm staggered by the amount of time and the number of words it takes to say nothing. My hope is that as American business begins to reconstitute itself in an improving economy (and it will improve), it will also realize that clear communication is the key to sales and an important aid to productivity.

11 comments:

Bruce said...

Gretchen, I enjoyed the "This is Rich" post. It felt fully integrated and is, no doubt, sustainable. I know that many readers will use your direction in their enterprises.

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