I got the scare of my life this morning. While reading through my various feeds, I saw this headline: “5 Ways Cloud-Based EPM is Altering the Landscape of the Business World“. I suddenly imagined the business world being decimated by equine protozoal myeloencephalitis, falling from the heavens as a pernicious rain.

Chortle if you must, but this is no laughing matter. I once contracted EPM while playing the part of Buffalo Bill in the local Wild West Show. I developed large, ugly sores all over my … well … never mind. Suffice it to say, if you can avoid contracting EPM, you should, regardless of whether it comes from the cloud or anywhere else — especially if you seem to have some kind of predisposition toward saddle sores.

But this isn’t a post about physiology. And I finally realized EPM stood for something else entirely; although, the realization didn’t make me feel as much better as I thought it might. My continuing dis-ease came from the fact that the language of the post is the psychic equivalent of a saddle sore; that is, while it isn’t morbidly deleterious, let alone lethal, it is bothersome in a way that makes it hard to sit down. Consider this:

Big data is another technical mainstay.

What? The last time I looked, big data was some combination of a flash in the pan and a dubious marketing idea, on the proverbial Fast Track to meaninglessness, its journey hastened by the fact that it has more definitions and more jargon-prone hucksters promoting it than do innovation and disruption.

Wouldn’t we think that if anything had ascended to the rarefied height of technical mainstay, there would have been a memo? At the very least, someone other than its hawkers would have noticed, don’t you think?

Now consider this:

Now that cloud-based EPM software has made the benefits of collaborative tools so obvious, businesses demand these features in all of the software and applications they invest in.

After I read that, I randomly dialed 100 businesses and had this precise conversation with every one:

Yours Truly: Do you have an umbrella to protect you from cloud-based EPM?
Them: What?

Yours Truly: Are the benefits of collaborative tools obvious to you?
Them: Who is this?

Yours Truly: Do you demand these features from all the software and applications you invest in?
Them: [click]

I’m not claiming my quick survey constitutes science — or even statistical validity. But it does seem to suggest that most of the EPM is still up in the clouds somewhere, that the benefits of collaborative tools might need a tad more obviousness, and that rash generalization does not real demand make. Little did I know the lion’s share of the balderdash was yet to come. To wit:

The CFO is no longer the geek in the back room with a calculator, (s)he is the one with the knowledge and the plans and the insight to take the business to the next level against the competition. As data and data analytics become more central to business, the CFO will emerge as the leader with the knowledge to make it work, because they’ve proven themselves in the arena of data collection and analysis via cloud-based EPM tools.

Here’s a passage, the syntactical contortions of which are exceeded only by its thrill-inducing leaps of logic. To quote the poet, let me count the ways:

  1. Up to now, the CFO has been a geek in the back room. (Really?)
  2. The CFO has the knowledge, the plans, and the insight to take the business to the next level. (Has anyone ever defined, not to mention attained, the next level?)
  3. The CFO (singular) will emerge … because they’ve (plural) proven themselves (plural).
  4. In the arena of data collection and analysis via cloud-based EPM tools. (Are CFOs some kinds of gladiators? If not, what are they doing in arenas?)

This claptrap notwithstanding, I’m still relieved and grateful to know this morning’s scare wasn’t what I’d feared. But while we may have dodged a physiological, epidemiological malady, that doesn’t mean we’re free from or immune to all manner of linguistic blights.

Even if this EPM wasn’t equine protozoal myeloencephalitis, it’s still dangerous. Beware of clouds.

Image by Courier Litho. Co., Buffalo, N.Y., via Wikimedia Commons.