Have you noticed how the high tech companies use cool names for big projects? Microsoft’s next operating system is code named “Longhorn.” For the past few years it was not possible to avoid “Longhorn” in the media. “Longhorn Beta release has been delayed”; “New file system not to be included in the initial release of Longhorn”; “General release of Longhorn now scheduled for 2007” – these are just a few of the items seen in the press.
Microsoft’s next version/major update of its operating system is code named “Black Comb.” Intel’s code name for the chip that is now marketed as Itanium was “Merced.” It makes you think these large companies probably have a business unit for creating these names, maybe something like the “Nomenclature Engineering” or “Creative Identification” groups. The names don’t seem to bear any relationship to the actual project or product, though. Perhaps the group that picked “Longhorn” had a conversation that went like this:
Bill G: You have been picked for the most important job in creating our new operating system. We all know it is going to be called “Windows 2000 something” when released; you need to give it a project name. I want to see your recommendation by end of day.
Bob S: Right Bill, we will work until we have a name for you. It will be emailed to you later today. OK gang, let’s review the facts, this is a new operating system, it will increase our market share from 95% to over 96%, security will be our main focus, and we are going to kick Linux’s butt. Now, let’s hear some ideas.
Mary C: I think it should be “Cool Rose.” It just sounds nice.
Bill M: Sit down Mary; you try that name for every project.
Bob S: How about “Linux Buster”? That name captures the real purpose for the new product.
Mary C: Great name but legal will be on our butts and we’ll have Gnu, Linus and the Open Source legal beagles filing suit after the first day.
After many hours……
Bob S: Geez, I’m brain dead from all this and we’re almost out of time. Bill, grab that newspaper and pick the first word out of the headline.
Bill M: I’ve got it, the sports section of the Times, the headline is “ Longhorns Win College World Series.” How about “Longhorn”?
Think about all the press this name creates for Microsoft. Why can’t banking vendors be as creative? No, their product updates are known as “Release 0501” or “Version 4.83 Build 3481.” Have you ever read about “Release 0501” in any paper? Of course not, it has no pizzazz, no panache, no savoir faire.
It seems to me that by giving new products or releases catchy names, the banking vendors can create a bit more buzz in the industry. Perhaps they could even become GonzoVendors! Let’s try a few ideas, and it will be obvious why this makes some sense.
It is my notion that unlike the high tech industry, banking names should have some relationship to the product or release in development. Here are a few specific examples. I have taken the liberty to name names and products.
/Brown Deer, Wisconsin, June 28, 2005/ — Metavante Corporation announced today plans to substantially upgrade its Wealth Management Product. The new release, named “Blue Nose,” will add substantial new functionality to the existing product and provide new features for investment management and planning. Blue Nose is planned for general release in first quarter 2006. Product manager…………
Or how about,
/Brookfield, Wisconsin, June 25, 2005/ — Fiserv’s Customer Centered Solutions Group (CCS) announced today a new CRM (customer relationship management) product to be code named “Svengali.” Svengali is planned to be in Beta at multiple banks in early 2006 and available for general release in late 2006. Les Muma, Fiserv President and CEO, said………..
/Monet, Missouri, June 26, 2005/ — Yellowhammer Software, a subsidiary of Jack Henry & Associates, announced the addition of anti-money laundering capabilities to the “Fraud Detective” product. The project is to be code named “Tide Ultra” and is planned for general release later this year. Jack Prim, CEO of Jack Henry, believes the addition of AML functionality will………..
/American Banker, June 26, 2005/ — The Beta release of “Tide Ultra” has received high marks from three banks. Bill Smith, CIO of Van De Lay Bank and Trust in New York City, indicated his concern that some of the promised components have not been delivered. He indicated that the missing components were pulled from the Beta to improve performance and to meet the stated deadlines. “We are still committed to this release even if………….
The impact of this small change for vendors is incalculable. Staff productivity gains in the vendor community will likely be 20% to 25%. Development staff will be far more motivated; they can be part of the “clean team” on project Tide Ultra. Free press will allow for the reduction of marketing budgets, and the reduced costs will be passed to banking customers through lower pricing.
Banks will also enjoy the fruits of project code names. Bank CIOs will be talking about Blue Nose and when they can start expanding services for the wealth management group. “Got Svengali?” will become the tag line from marketing to be sure all business units are participating in the new CRM project. The buzz alone will significantly increase vendor visibility in the financial community.
When your core system vendor announces product update R0502, tell them to get with the program or pound sand. Stand up for project code names, more productivity and lower prices!