Firescope provides a Crap Factoids bonus - a whole collection of them

We haven't had a Crap Factoid on this blog for a while, so it is time we had a good one. Look at Thriving in the Troubled Economy:
Ten ways you can slash IT costs and innovate in 2009
. Firescope take Crap Factoids to a new level with a barrage of unsubstantiated anecdotal numbers. Never have I seen so many "Oh really?"s in one document. Chokey the Chimp had to have a lie-down.

The FireScope appliance ... is simple to implement and maintain. If it is the only monitoring system to be implemented, IT will not need a new headcount to support it. If several monitoring solutions can be eliminated and replaced by FireScope, IT can eliminate or redirect the headcount supporting those systems. An IT shop that consolidates from 3 to 1 monitoring solutions may be able to redirect $80,000, the cost of a burdened IT headcount, to strategic initiatives...

IT organizations that use one of the “Big 4” monitoring solutions typically pay the vendor $250,000 each year for maintenance and support. Many enterprise IT shops use two to three of these. Consolidating to FireScope’s solution decreases annual support expenses to about $18,000 for an average enterprise installation. That’s a savings of $232,000+ each year....

If Firescope is functionally equivalent to a big-4 monitoring solution for 7% of the cost, I'm a little surprised it hasn't taken the world by storm. Clearly it is a Masonic conspiracy. Or perhaps it is because the Big-4 support the CIA overseas so the US Government is secretly suppressing competitive products in the homeland. Think about it. Why else would such a cheap product not be a runaway success? Well, yes, that is a possibility. Perhaps you do get what you pay for.

We also get two instances of the fallacy of the linear value of time:

Five 30-minute Outages per year x 3,000 Knowledge Workers x 50% Productivity Loss x $80,000 Burdened Headcount= $157,500 in lost productivity per year...

If three operations personnel lose just half an hour per day deciphering poor handoffs between regions, the company loses $23,000 in productivity each year...

Then there's the rapid-fire anecdotal claims:

FireScope customers typically recover 3 times the cost of the system in expense reductions and recovered revenue—within the first year. ... FireScope can save IT more than $500,000 this year...

FireScope customers report an average avoidance of $210,000 in revenue losses by preventing outages...

After implementing FireScope, customers have reduced outage time by an average 78%....

FireScope can reduce, by 35-65%, the labor required...

FireScope customers on average achieve 60% greater succes with consolidation projects...

And the beauty of it is, there isn't a single substantiating fact in the entire document.

I was saying "crap" so fast and repeatedly I sounded like a Lada engine on a cold morning. The only redeeming feature of this lot is that it is pretty obvious. It's the kind of thing you get from a time-share salesman. Most people will filter it out, so Chokey is not going to full-scale alert. Anyone who swallows this lot deserves what they get.


Our response to Rob's FireScope Blog Post

First let us say that we’re flattered that the IT Skeptic “Rob England” pored over our site content, and as would a engineer or techie studying a set of equations, source code or a set of black and white facts, found areas that he might-could-maybe-potentially be problematic or crap as he put it. While we can all be grateful for detail-oriented types like Rob, his article falsely suggests that the information we present on our site is errant.

Unfortunately for Rob that is not true as the information provided actually came from our customer’s experiences as well as, from publicly available information about our competitors. So while, Rob may feel that we are not a viable alternative to the Big 4, that is just his opinion, and hopefully most of the others are going to download and try our products (try that with the Big4) and see how many happy Fortune 2000 customers we have globally and give us a try. After all, it seems that is all it usually takes.

So why would a person with Rob’s experience ad smarts go out of his way to disparage an underdog startup and aid the Big 4’s high price, extensive services and poor maintenance model that some many are dissatisfied with. Don’t you wonder why they continue to buy so many startups, when they supposedly have such great products??? And why is that dissatisfaction so widely reported by the mainstream press and other notables sources??? Well, I can only speculate that Rob comes from the perspective of an engineer or technoid (by the way I and many others on the FireScope team have been a less skeptical ones for many years) and likely believes the following from an insightful article on

“Right off the bat, you need to recognize that an engineer is wired differently than an entrepreneur. His training and experience have conditioned him to value quantification and objectivity. But in business, many decisions cannot be easily quantified. And when it comes to marketing . . . well, let's just say that marketing is – by nature – a highly subjective endeavor. With that in mind, here are some other things you need to know about why your engineer partner struggles with marketing.

Engineers love facts.
At the end of the day, engineers love facts more than anything else. The problem is that facts are only part of the marketing equation. How you present information is often just as important as the information itself. Engineers need to understand that while it's necessary to present facts in a marketing campaign, facts alone won't get the job done.

Engineers are skeptical about advertising.
Most engineers genuinely believe they are immune to the power of advertising. They believe this not because they are arrogant, but because they have been trained to make decisions based on logic rather than emotion. Although it's debatable whether or not engineers are truly unaffected by advertising, conflicts arise when they transfer their beliefs about advertising to the rest of they buying public. The simple truth is that consumers make their buying decisions based on a combination of logic and emotion. To be effective, your marketing campaign has to target consumers' emotions as well as their minds.

Engineers avoid bells and whistles.
Engineers have a "no frills" perspective on life. Their job is to find the simplest, most straightforward way of doing things. Most marketing campaigns frustrate engineers because they emphasize bells, whistles, and other features designed to attract consumers' attention. If they had their way, your marketing campaign would probably consist of a typewritten, black and white ad lacking photos or graphics of any kind. Okay, maybe that's a little extreme, but you get the idea. Someone needs to show your partner why bells and whistles are a vital part of your marketing efforts."

So why does Rob belittle the efforts of a small entrepreneurial company because he thinks their conclusions are incorrect? Or because he loves the in-efficient model of the Big4, we have no idea. Hopefully, he will try our product and come over to the underdog’s side.

Nevertheless, in the spirit of fair competition and respecting one’s opinion, we strongly recommend that any readers of the IT Skeptic please go to BMC, IBM, HP or CA’s respective websites and feast on the facts and validation regarding return on investment (ROI) and other marketing efforts. Good luck on that as marketing and presenting a company’s information or collateral in a palatable form is an honored and respectable profession, albeit subjective. We do wish however that Rob would comment on our competitor’s facts in the spirit of fairness and journalistic pride. How about it Rob…is there some fair play in the cards???


Your loyal readers from the FireScope Team. :)

way to go

it seems to me that there is no need to type in (and also to cut and paste) that many letters to state this: "yes, we are using some crap to promote, but we just don't like when they call it that way" :)

Response to additional comments

Oleg...the reason for that is not crap in our opinion, but actually largely based on real customer feedback, their comments and publicly available information. While there is some marketing included in our collateral, it is nothing outside of the norm. I don't care if it is called marketing because it is in There is nothing wrong with that and we take no special affront by your comments. Everyone has a right to an opinion. is marketing and the idea that others are doing less or more or that one is more valid than the other is purely subjective (both the beautiful and ugly part of the discipline) . The part that you choose was actually based on customer feedback and comments, so we respectively disagree with your comments. Having said that...we appreciate the debate. :)

many software vendors do it

Where I live, if a car retailer says this car gets 28 miles per gallon (I haven't metricated fuel consumption yet) they legally need to justify that. If a fuel additive claims to save you $1000 per year in fuel costs they need to justify that. And so on...

So no: "marketing" is not an excuse for pulling unsubstantiated numbers out of the air. And yes, many software vendors do it. I'll keep calling it crap.

Sadly even most of the substantiated stuff is crap too: anecdotal numbers with no real evidence. I'll keep calling that crap too.

Incidentally when a certain software company got busted for the 35-day-month, their rationalisation (at least internally) was that other software companies did it, which was true. That didn't make it legal and people went to jail. Crap isn't less crap just because others spout it.

it's not fair

I do wish that people who accuse me of unfairness took the time to read some of the site. A simple click on the "Crap Factoid" link shows what other organisations have been similarly examined, which includes some of the big 4. My son constantly used the term "it's not fair" when he was little to mean "I don't like it".

A passionate response from an entrepreneur who presumably is the opposite of an engineer and therefore has total disregard for facts. We still await one shred of evidence to substantiate Firescope's claims.

A response to a response

If you want to buy some software and go through the qualification process, we will be happy to provide you references and such. Otherwise, we stand with the others and are not inclined to place that information out there in public for our competitors use and in violation of our customer's wishes. I have read your site and I enjoyed various parets of it, but stick by my earlier response. I am technical by the way...a coder who likes the facts as mentioned in earlier correspondence, just have appreciation for other arts as well. Nice try though...from an All Blacks fan in the US. :)

wouldn't get away with it

I don't see references as an authoritative source of anything. I've worked for vendors: I know how much additional attention and energy being a reference site buys you. But even some measured results from reference sites would be a start. At least other vendors make that token effort.

(Not that what others achieve mean anything at all in such a complex industry as ours - "results may vary")

You are indeed free to make unsubstantiated claims just as I am free to cry "crap". Just be glad the software industry is completely unregulated. In health, food or automotive you wouldn't get away with it.

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