As the saying goes, if it looks like a fish, smells like a fish and tastes like a fish then the chances are that it is a fish. Likewise by any measure the products in the recent REPAMA study into the ESB market segment certainly appear to be ESBs but why then is none of the vendors content with describing their products simply as an “ESB”.
As the REPAMA Marketing Element Distribution (MED) chart below shows, the ESB vendors in the study (Microsoft ESB Guidance 1.0, Oracle Service Bus, Progress Sonic ESB, TIBCO ActiveMatrix Service Bus) used the following adjectives, qualifiers, modifiers and euphemisms to describe the offer category of their “ESB”.
- A loosely-coupled messaging environment
- A comprehensive Enterprise Service Bus offering
- Architectural guidance, patterns and practices
- Messaging-based Enterprise Service Bus
- Enterprise-class SOA Enterprise Service Bus
- High performance, scalable SOA integration backbone
- Lightweight Enterprise Service Bus
- Mediation Layer
- Enterprise Service Bus
Words are wonderful things and marketing organisations as experienced as these wouldn’t use words without a reason. As mentioned previously in this blog entry, when a category becomes as ultra-competitive as the ESB space, vendors will attempt to segment and re-segment the market on their terms and the product category is the first place they start.
As a result, there is a raft of valuable competitive intelligence in this simple list of words above (visualised by wordle.net). Why is each vendor modifying the product category in this way? Answer that question and you’ll gain an insight into the particular position within the ESB segment that each vendor is trying to own.