Friday, 16 May 2008

Clearing up

I had a mail yesterday after my DLP post expressing concern that I was endorsing Orchestria. It wasn't from any of the Vontu crowd, nor Vericept, nor any of the others in this space, just to be clear.

I'm not going to say who it was as they wouldn't thank me for making it public, but just for the record, I was deliberately not endorsing them. I think it's hard to tell in print, but it was supposed to be slightly tongue in cheek. I was told a lot of impressive stuff by the CTO, and without any proof. I have no idea if they are any good or just have a big marketing budget. Personally I would be surprised if it was all true, as they wouldn't need any advertising budget if it was, it would sell itself - and they seem to have blown a huge wedge on getting out into the media. I am still surprised by the suddenness with which they appeared on the scene, even though they had been around for 5/6 years previously working in the compliance space. I've just come out of the compliance space myself, and never saw them there.

I was slightly mystified by the claim that they do 'more than just DLP', and then described what they do, which was... erm, DLP. If they DO do DLP to the extent they say, then they still just do DLP I'm afraid, not super-DLP, not DLP-extreme, or even DLP-with-knobs-on, just plain old DLP. They may be doing it super well (or well-extreme, or even well-with-knobs-on), but DLP doesn't break down into subsets, it's already an all encompassing term. This makes me think that they might be a little confused about what they are selling.

This often seems to happen when a company has to make a swingeing turnaround from their original product marketing direction. I've worked for a couple of companies (again, no names) where the original idea has been technically sound, but completely unsellable, and changing the message serves to confuse not only the customers, but the internal staff. I wasn't at Ingrian when the focus changed from SSL to data security, but I was selling their kit in the UK. People loved the SSL device, I still do, they are still used in the UK deployments I performed. People didn't understand the data security device, and a complete change of architecture really stalled the company for a short while. They recovered of course to be purchased recently by the marvelous SafeNet (it really doesn't work in print does it?), but it was a tough time.

I've been through that twice with other companies, and changing the marketing message can be as time consuming as changing the product direction, sales model, or any other part of the organisation. Something I will say for Orchestria though is that they have the right attitude towards this to succeed - complete self-confidence in the face of adversity, and seemingly infinite marketing dollars. What I can't yet do is endorse them, I hope this is all clear now!

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