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back to article Analyst says vendors offer pretend reference customers

Gartner senior research analyst Jarod Greene has alleged vendors sometimes suggest he call reference customers that may not exist. In a blog post, Greene offers the following three examples of odd things that happen when he asks for customer references: ”I’ve been sent emails from Analyst Relations people that brag about recent …

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Meh

Old hat.

This is far from new, but let me ask. Would you give out references to the ones you have shorted? I'm not defending company X, but you have to be honest. Also, I'm not sure where Gartner finds such analysts, but Jarod Greene clearly needs to brought up to speed on business practices of the last 6000 years.

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Devil

Re: Old hat.

I can tell you where Gartner finds them - in the middle of the "Magic Wankdrant", sorry quadrant...

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Microsoft's "Contoso" is not a fake company

It is designed as an archetype of a major company that uses Microsoft technologies, a hypothetical example. Everyone who knows anything about IT knows this.

To suggest that it is a fictitious company that Microsoft refers to, like the other companies that are referred to in this article, can only be an attempt to slur Microsoft. Readers of this article should understand the motivations (or ignorance) of the author.

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Stop

Re: Microsoft's "Contoso" is not a fake company

> "To suggest that it is a fictitious company that Microsoft refers to, like the other companies that are referred to in this article, can only be an attempt to slur Microsoft."

I'm assuming you didn't RTFA: "Fake customers aren't entirely new OR ENTIRELY SUSPICIOUS: Microsoft famously uses a fictitious company, “Contoso”, AS THE SETTING FOR NUMEROUS DEMOS. "

How can that possibly be a "slur" against MS?

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Windows

@Ian Easson Re "Microsoft's "Contoso" is not a fake company" I suggest old chap that......

............you take as your motto "think before you post". The subheading on the front page was "Microsoft's 'Contoso' may be more real than some users" and the article did make clear that Contoso is a known "model". This was in fact the author's point - that some of the "customers" given by vendors as references are less real the Redmond's "fake". The difference being that MS are using Contoso as a model as in "Everyone who knows anything about IT knows this" and are not attempting thereby to fool anyone, whereas some unscrupulous vendors are most certainly trying to pull the wool over peoples eyes.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Microsoft's "Contoso" is not a fake company

The problem is the use of perjorative and misleading words in the quote.

To say "Fake customers aren't entirely new ..." implies that Microsoft claimed them as a customer, and the use of the word fake implies an attempt to mislead or cause confusion at least. Had the reporter wished to be neutral they would have used a phrase like "Invented companies aren't entirely new ...".

This is a professional writer so we have to assume that the implications in their copy are intentional.

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I don't know Contoso, but,

How often do they use or evaluate software or services that aren't from Microsoft? I don't say that they never do; I'm only curious. And it's where they might be a teeny bit unrealistic.

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Windows

Re: Microsoft's "Contoso" is not a fake company

You're right, its a reference implementation much like the Surface RT. In fact, I think Contoso uses Surface RT tablets exclusively and has enjoyed a 1237% productivity increase compared to compared to Windows 7 and Office 2010.

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Re: Microsoft's "Contoso" is not a fake company

To say "Fake customers aren't entirely new ..." implies that Microsoft claimed them as a customer

I'd call that a resistant reading of the article. I didn't infer any such meaning, and clearly neither did most of the people responding on this thread.

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Pint

Hot from the Press...

Marketeers lie to get Results.

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Holmes

Re: Hot from the Press...

And in orher news, CVs may have been 'enhanced' for a better reading experience.

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Happy

Re: Hot from the Press...

And in orher news, CVs may have been 'enhanced' for a better reading experience.

Mine certainly has been. It's got a sex scene on page 1, a car crash on page 2, and at the end it turns out he was a ghost all along...

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Holmes

Shock Misty!

(Not so) strangely, there was a Misty Shock at Microsoft for awhile, perhaps when they were developing the documentation that happens to mention misty@contoso.com ?

"Misty Shock grew up in Port Orchard and developed a lifelong devotion to Kitsap County, before coming to the big city of Seattle to attend the University of Washington. After school, she worked at Microsoft as a Technical Editor."

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Shock Misty!

And there was a Chew Me and Mrs Goodnight on Her Magesty's secret service as well one Christmas Jones working for the DOE (rumored to be coming more than once a year). Yeah... Right...

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Anonymous Coward

How many mentions of Microsoft can you get ...

Ten: that has to be a new record for mentions of Microsoft on the main page .. and one mention of Windows ...

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What? You mean Misty isn't real after all?

I'd better cancel that dinner reservation for two then...

Or keep it, and turn up alone like I usually do claiming my date stood me up so I get a sympathy icecream...

Ha, and people said being a geek would be bad for my social life.

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Holmes

not just Cutomers that have a vested interest.

If outfit Y runs a big expensive consultancy around product YY, the implementation manager could be using the references as a way to get a consultancy role, even if he knew it wasn't right for his employer. Which is better, the $2m product or the $1m product that requires $1m to "customise"/"integrate"?

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What does he expect?

Whatever the source of a customer reference, Greene advises those relying on them do so with great care, as “there is usually an incentive for the vendor-provided reference to say good things about the product they use.”

Our heroic analyst says he's surprised that vendors find it hard to give references. Why? Does he not realise that people have actual work to do, rather than talk about how they implemented one of their systems. And then warns that there's usually an incentive for the reference company to be nice. Well of course there bloody is you idiot! If the vendor didn't give them some sweeties, then they wouldn't agree to be referees!

I believe the operative phrase is, "does the Pope shit in the woods?"

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Anonymous Coward

shocking el reg

A story about fake references and you manage to bring in a Microsoft angle. It may not have been your intention but it reads like an attempted slur. The amount of legal hoops than MS jump through for case study references, they are probably one of the most solid in the industry.

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Pirate

Pot Kettle etc

In the "watch out for lying toerags" stakes "analysts" must be near the top of the watch list

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Contoso was created to replace company.com

Random bit of history.

Microsoft used to use company.com until they were sued by a cyber squatter. Created Contoso to replace it.

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Wot...

No Northwind?

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Mushroom

i call BS

Gartner may well have astroturfed this whole article. When do they do any real research? They just get companies to pay to talk about them and give them awards. Their value add is being able to get the direct ear of clueless sociopath CSuite idiots in other companies without the BS being filtered by lower downs with some knowledge of the subject.

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pwl
Facepalm

vendor view

what i find fascinating is that the customers who demand references are usually the ones who won't give references themselves....

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