Emptoris Grows, Trash Talks Competitors

While I'm hoping to talk to the guys at Emptoris on Monday, I wanted to get out a quick note linking to their recent controversial growth announcement which is raising eyebrows in the vendor community. In the note, Emptoris talks, among other things, about how they are taking customers away from Ariba. My perspective on this is that while there are many sides to a story, some things are best kept for competitive sales situations -- and out of the PR spotlight (because I know full well that CombineNet, Ariba, Procuri, SAP, and others could easily cite victories over Emptoris, but they choose not to in the public press). Without question, stepping this low is bad PR. Emptoris, especially given their overall solution strength, should learn more about how to market in the public domain in a gentlemanly manner (and save the trash talking for when they're in the throws of a deal).

But underlying this trash talking are some very big numbers in the announcement, including a citation noting Emptoris' 83% year over year growth. There's also some big claims about their SaaS installs as well (which I find a little bit hard to believe; basic "hosted" deployments, yes. But true Saas?) One thing I'll point out here is that Emptoris has historically gotten in trouble for sharing / leaking / or otherwise getting less than believable numbers in the hands of at least one analyst firm in the past. Also, private companies like Emptoris are not held to the same standards as public ones when releasing numbers, so take the specifics with a grain of salt.

Regardless, I have no doubt that Emptoris is doing very well in the market (and they almost always are at the top of my shortlist when I recommend vendors to companies). Still, I would hope that they begin to market themselves and act like a leader rather than behaving like a pack of middle schoolers trying to single out and beat up a ninth grader on the play lot. Leaders should act like leaders. As Benjamin Franklin, my favorite American historical figure once said, "Talkers are no Great Doers".

Stay tuned for further analysis on Emptoris soon. I will elaborate further on Emptoris' numbers and growth after I have a chance to speak with them next week

Jason Busch

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