Busch and Hansen’s Shared Views on Ariba Dummies Book is Bad News for the Much Maligned Vendor

Posted on November 19, 2010


It is safe to say that both Jason Busch and I have not always seen eye-to-eye.  In fact one might even suggest that our “spirited” exchanges have been more reflective of cantankerous old men (not that either of us is old), trading barbs across an unbridgeable gulf of opposing views.  It is not a matter of right or wrong here, nor is it reflective of a flawed value system in one or the other, as I am confident that Jason always writes from a position of unquestionable integrity and unshakable belief in the positions he supports.


You can decide who above is Jason and who is me

The fact is that we simply on more occasions than not, agree to disagree.

This being said I was happy to receive Jason’s e-mail the other day under the heading “RE: thought you might appreciate this . . .” in which the Spend Matters wordsmith shared with me an advance copy of his Friday Rant regarding the Ariba Dummies book.

As the brisk read activity for my November 16th post (Has the ERP-world finally come down to this . . . An Ariba For Dummies?!) will attest, this latest move by the much maligned vendor is more reminiscent of Ford’s introduction of the Edsel than providing any real substantive and sustaining value to the end-user computing world.  The term empty calories immediately comes to mind.

Well, when someone’s right, they are right and Jason in his own immutable way hit the proverbial nail on the head.  Here is an excerpt from today’s Spend Matters post (I would encourage you to hit the LINK to access the piece in its entirety . . . and even stay and look around a little as there are bound to be other gems of interesting insights to be found in his blog):

Ariba’s latest marketing tomb, Collaborative Commerce for Dummies is either a stroke of genius or a potentially dangerous over-simplification of a hodge-podge of important topics (also see Jon Hansen’s take here). I’m not the target audience, so don’t look to me to tell you which it is. Let’s have the market, and each reader, judge for themselves. As a demand generation tool, I’m sure the new e-book will be successful, given that garnering downloads was certainly one of the primary intents behind it and the fact that lead generation has become one of Ariba’s core competencies. I happen to think the e-book itself is a fun and quick read (it took me about 20 minutes for a somewhat detailed scan), but I take issue with a number of the assumptions about the simplicity of the topic. Consider the following example.

I will once again suggest that you visit Jason’s blog to read about the specific examples to which he is referring, but it is safe to say that Ariba’s decision to release a book under the “Dummies” brand opens them up to the realms of oxymoronic comparisons with terms such as military intelligence and (perhaps more appropriately) free advice is worth what you paid for it.


Posted in: Commentary