Does the Hype Machine Help or Hurt Business Buyers?

Updated: January 08, 2010

OK, so does the hype machine help business buyers? I'm speaking about your average small business or IT professional. A lot of folks would have us believe the hype helps businesses become aware of the need to buy a new technology or participate in a trend. In other words hype machines makes business professionals aware of trends and get them valuable information. Hello, business owner. Wake up. You need to purchase a new VoIP phone system. You need to get on Twitter and start marketing your business.

Of course, there is problem that most of these hyped technologies don't deliver results or just aren't ready for mass adoption - hence Gartner's Hype Cycles or the classic "Crossing the Chasm" concepts first proposed by Geoffrey Moore - the eloquent view of the snowball.

All of these philosophical discussions and frameworks are great but here's the thing with hype. Especially in today's world of fragmented media, hype makes it even more difficult for your average business professional to figure out what's going on and to find a credible source of information. Don't forget 99.9 percent of business aren't cozy with your Gartner analyst. While I know that fellow researchers, analysts, consultants and vendors can make it through the quagmire and perhaps even relish the intellectual challenge of bringing order to chaos, I don't think the purchasers of these technologies have the same experience. They actually have a day job that is only partly related to their purchase - whether it be a phone system, a CRM system or virtualization software. They have to make quick decision especially outside the world of the large enterprise.

My concern is that many small business and IT professionals think technologies are overrated because of the hype noise associated with those technologies create so much confusion. We recently asked Focus Users in our Focus polls: Which technologies are most overrated? As of this blog post 83 users responded. I was surprised by how close the results were:

  • 11% selected virtualization
  • 18% selected unified communications
  • 18% selected green IT
  • 22% selected cloud computing
  • 27% selected social networking

Well, I know lots of really solid product and use cases across all of these technologies. And maybe the poll is faulty because we didn't include "none of the above." But my belief is that this hype is having collateral damage. "Overrated" means "I'm not buying that right now." Confusion over social networking gets quickly associated with CRM. Confusion over cloud computing slows down making the decision over which hosting solution to use. Confusion over unified communications slows down the purchase of phone systems. And so on. Do vendors see this same problem? I'd be interested in knowing.

Featured Research
  • Business Phone System Buyer's Guide

    Communication has been a focal point in business since inception, but the industry is changing drastically in how people connect to one another and what tools and systems they use to do so. Less than 15 years ago, 90% of people relied on landline phone systems for communication. Today, less than 60% of Americans even have a landline and 40% rely solely on their mobile phone. more

  • Ditch Your Fax Servers

    An in-house fax server gives an IT department centralized management and monitoring over the entire enterprise's faxing. This can help your company track usage and better maintain records for auditing and record keeping. However, there are serious drawbacks that come with utilizing an in-house fax server solution and these range from security to cost-prohibitive pricing. more

  • The IT Manager's Survival Guide

    As an IT manager, maintaining physical fax servers and infrastructure is not a high priority. However, fax capability remains a business need simply because chances are your industry is dependent on its security. What if there was a way to reduce the amount of time spent handling fax complaints and maintaining physical servers? And this way took into account security, cost savings, and freed up your IT resources. Would you be interested? more

  • The Top 10 Reasons Companies Continue to Fax in 2017

    Even though many won't admit it in public, many industries still rely heavily on sending faxes in one way or another. And believe it or not, fax usage is, in fact, going up and not down. Don't believe us? In a recent study, 82% of respondents stated that fax usage increased over the past year while only 19% stated that their fax usage went down. more

  • Top 11 VoIP Myths Busted

    VoIP is one of the fastest growing business communication technologies, with many saying that it will grow at a rate of 10% year over year for the foreseeable future. As with any new technology, there are many myths floating about that claim to answer the questions that surround how the new service works. more