Fight - March Slams Verint: Daring Or Distasteful?

We think this is a great discussion and would love to hear the communities thoughts on the Home Page marketing ad by March Networks


Here's the ad.

I don't see anything wrong with it. I have never really used either platform but from what I've heard their ad has a good degree of truth to it.

It's kind of refreshing to see someone call their shot.

Usually marketing in this business consists of scrutinizing whether 'actual image' means it came from A camera or THE camera being advertised.

What we need to determine is how truthful the end-of-life DVR claim is. I've asked Carlton to get a statement from both Verint and March so we can better understand the underlying facts of the matter.

Btw, in general, I think it's acceptable for rivals to directly criticize each other so long as the claims made are grounded in fact. That said, the tactic does not make much sense for most in surveillance because the market is so fragmented that picking on any one competitor is wasteful. However, Verint / March in the DVR market (especially for banks) is different. They both hold significant share (at least in NA) and are each other's clear primary competitors here.

Here's a full page ad / criticism from March against Verint. Key excerpt:

Carlton, I jotted down some points from our conversation this morning for your reference.

Want Your Business: No response really – we do realize that competitors in our key practices would love to get our market share. However, we continue to see the reverse - probably due to the superiority of our products and technologies, solutions expertise, and customer first culture.

We'll Never Leave You Behind:

In July 2009, Verint released what March launched we believe in 2013 - scalable NVR up to 64 inputs over IP/analog plus more if a customer chooses to use encoders. Verint applications including the Vid-Center user application and Op-Center health monitoring and system admin. applications have always been backward compatible with our hardware platforms including EdgeVR, Net2 and Net1 recorders released in 2000 – 13 years back.

We are not sure where your sources got their data from. Based on what we know, March has changed / launched new hardware platforms every 1-2 years in the recent past including:

September 2011 - 4332C and 4324C Hybrid Network Video Recorders (NVRs)

October 2012 - The 7532 windows based NVR

January 2013 - The 8000 Series

Proven Reliability (& Customer Satisfaction):

Across Verint businesses, more than 90% of the Fortune 500 financial institutions use Verint solutions:

http://verint.com/news-events/press-releases/2013-press-releases/07-11-13

We believe this is a testament to our solutions and practice leadership in banking and finance and our customer first organizational culture.

Here is our most recent customer foot-print in banking video surveillance (which continues to grow):

- More than 1,000 banks and financial institutions around the world use our systems including

- More than 50 of the top 100 US multinational banks and financial institutions

Easy Migration

Verint NVRs have more analog or / and IP camera input capacity than March besides storage, etc. Customers upgrade based on their need and desire to use advanced technologies such as IP, storage, processing power, etc.

Hope this helps. Thanks

Debjit Das

Vice President, Global Marketing

Video & Situation Intelligence Solutions

Verint Systems Inc.

www.verint.com

Debjit, why did you post random notes as a comment on IPVM? It's hard to make sense out of it, not to mention certainly factual wrong about your implication that Verint is taking market share (public records show your video intelligence division revenue is flat to down over the last 5+ years while the market as a whole has grown significantly).

Your most coherent point is buried under waves of color and bolded text: "Verint applications including the Vid-Center user application and Op-Center health monitoring and system admin. applications have always been backward compatible with our hardware platforms including EdgeVR, Net2 and Net1 recorders released in 2000 – 13 years back." Quite frankly, your response to the ad critique would be much stronger if it was the only one.

Your comment about 'upgrade migration' is completely nonsensical, avoiding the only issue at hand, how migrations are done and what limitations might exist.

We are still in the process of talking to others in the industry and doing our due diligence and will post more on the specific product / technical claims then.

I posted my notes from the conversation with Carlton that I checked and saw that it was not posted even though this was earlier this AM and you guys are usually prompt with the keyboard.

At the end of the day, this is your web-site, so you can change / modify / delete as you feel. If you do change it, please do not use my name any more.

In a professional world, suggest you refrain from calling people names and use adjectives like you did in the email below. But I guess you are entitled to what and how you do.

As for facts, please feel free to get in touch – bottom-line, are you able to see our business performance is in key practice areas (verticals) and product categories that you understand, based on public records? Please re-read my email even though it may have appeared cryptic to you.

Debjit, you are certainly entitled to show the world that you cannot draft a coherent response, and I am entitled to call that out.

I am dumbfounded that you are a marketing executive at a publicly traded company.

Don't you think you are digressing from the original topic of your discussion blog: March vs. Verint.

For your records:

- your guy contacted me and I spent time this morning at less than 24 hours notice providing specifics with no mutual obligation.

- Nothing was repoted from your side back to the blog which I heard you were pretty prompt with

- I post myself

- you start responding with assaults on me personally, with no substance on the topic you started out with

We don't know whether you are biased or just operate based on limited information and analyses.

Either way, your web-site and email communications work - Your web-site email did get me back on your web-site on a Fri close to midnight because we in the real world do care about our business including customers, employees, partners and stakeholders.

Have a good weekend and we can pick this up next week if necessary. If you would prefer more coherent communications, I can put you in touch with our communications team as well - hopefully they will make more sense to you.

Debjit,

What do you mean that you spent time with 'my guy' 'with no mutual obligation'? What 'obligation' would either of us be under?

Since you were evidently anxious for a public update on the same day you spoke with 'my guy', why did you not just email us directly and ask? You are certainly free to post your random, unproofread, notes on IPVM whenever you desire, but as a professional marketer, does that really help your case?

I am criticizing you professionally. As to your 'assaults on me personally' claim, do you even understand what the word 'assault' means in English? Do you really believe I am physically attacking you or threatening violence? That would clearly be a libelous claim.

While it is easy to dismiss someone as being biased or ignorant, my criticisms have nothing to do with March vs Verint. It is all about your gross ineptitude in delivering a coherent explanation of your position.

I think you are doing a disservice to Verint and should step aside so your colleagues with greater communication and technical skills can make a clearer case.

At the end of my conversation with Carlton, what I heard from him was - it was a useful conversation and he got what he needed. The notes above are the same information / data points I provided him - my intent here was to provide you and your readers facts and data points that we track in response to each area that our competitor has advertised against. The intent was not to provide a positioning statement.

If you need further information and /or clarifications around any of the areas that our competitor has claimed, let me know your specific questions.

Assault from Merriam Webster, for your reference - does not always have to be physical or lead to libel:

Definition of ASSAULT

1
a : a violent physical or verbal attack
b : a military attack usually involving direct combat with enemy forces
c : a concerted effort (as to reach a goal or defeat an adversary)

Debjit, you are claiming now that I violently verbally attacked you? What grounds can you make such a claim? What violent verbal attack did I make?

Why not simply admit you choose your words poorly? Assault overwhelmingly implies violence, physical or military actions and is entirely inappropriate for our interaction.

As for your conversation with Carlton, Carlton shared his notes and observations with me. It was clear that you rambled on there with equally vague claims.

You can certainly continue with this back and forth, but it only goes to show my original point - that you are demonstrably incapable of clearly and coherently making Verint's case.

p.s. - If you really want to quote Merriam Webster, be fair and quote the whole entry:

Your assault accusation against me is totally ungrounded, and if you are a professional, you should apologize.

To close this out from my perspective: Any of you or your readers who would like Verint's perspective (data and specifics) on the referenced Ad by our competitor - please feel free to contact me directly at +1.631.962.7754 or any of our associates in our Banking and Finance practice.

John: As for you raising issues with my personal and professional competencies, I do realize that you have your own approach to engaging your readers and interviewees. We do not subscribe to that approach and will refrain from responding. Nevertheless, appreciate your free advice and counsel for me and Verint. So feel free to provide more as they come up in your mind. Thanks!

Debjit, I am engaging you, not our readers. And the only reason I engaged you is because you posted your rambling notes on our site. I have no interest in providing you any more counsel. I have spoken to you in the past, and you were equally incoherent, unable to convey Verint's position without descending to vague, grammatically broken, marketing claims. This is why I avoid speaking with you. I will return to that position.

For the record on this subject: Your team had asked for our comments - we did not approach you.

No problem if you want to cover and report on IP Video without talking to one of the (top 3?) leaders in Americas IP Video.

Readers, regarding the Ad referenced in this discussion, please scroll up to filter through the personal competency exchange b/w John and me to see Verint standing and product capabilities for our NVRs in Banking and Finance.

Debjit, first of all, can you please refrain from bolding 75% of your comment? Use it judiciously to make a specific point, e.g., Debjit Das is a poor marketer.

We asked to speak with Verint, not with you. We are happy to speak with someone from Verint but prefer a product manager or other technical representative, as we do with every manufacturer. Your ongoing spinning just wastes our time. That's why I specifically said, "This is why I avoid speaking with you." Not Verint, you, Debjit Das.

So your next claim, that we do not want to speak with Verint, is null. We are happy to speak with Verint, just a technical representative who can speak clearly.

Verint's Leadership?

Finally, let's unpack your claim about being a top 3 leader in Americas IP video. I am sure most of your readers are stunned by that claim because they rarely hear or come across Verint. However, I suspect you are basing the claim on an IMS revenue ranking.

As I alluded to before, Verint's video surveillance revenue has flatlined or declined over the past 5 to 7 years and is now $120 million or less. I do agree that years ago, Verint was a leader. You now have sizeable revenue from a relatively smaller number of very large accounts but that is not what I, nor most, consider leadership.

It is the companies who are innovating with exciting new product developments and growing market share that are the 'leaders'. For instance,

  • Avigilon, who is shooting past Verint this year, with a similar but far better executed model.
  • Or Axis, who is many times larger than Verint's video surveillance unit yet continues to grow faster.
  • Or Hikvision and Dahua who are driving lower costs in IP video.
  • Or Vivotek who will likely pass Verint in total global revenue this year.
  • Or Genetec, Milestone and Exacq who continue to push forward on VMS offerings.
  • And last but not least, I should mention Pelco, who is still far larger than you and trying hard to release and market new products.

It is ironic that you and March are so at each other's throats because you are both similar size companies that used to be gorillas, but now struggle to keep pace, getting passed by a wave of hungrier, stronger new entrants.

Despite all this, IPVM is happy to speak with Verint, just not with you.

I believe your description of Verint business and recent performance is inadequate - here is a quick snapshot of what was reported in our FYE 2013 Form 10-K:

Verint Revenue: $839.5 million, 7% YOY growth

Security Revence: $349 million, comprised of

$119.4 million from Video & Situation Intelligence (VIS)

$229.6 million from Communications & Cyber

The decrease in VIS revenue was primarily attributable to a $19.6 million decrease in product revenue, resulting largely from a decrease in sales of certain hardware products to a single large customer during the year ended January 31, 2013 as compared to the year ended January 31, 2012, as well as a reduction in product deliveries associated with a few other customers from period to period. These decreases were partially offset by an increase in product deliveries to other customers in the year ended January 31, 2013 as compared to the year ended January 31, 2012.

In addition, I believe it was clearly stated in the earnings call that our VIS business line has been transitioning focus from selling and higher reliance on lower margin commoditized h/w to higher value add s/w such as video management, analytics, and situation awareness. This was the big driver for the revenue drop in 2012. Not lack of innovation, infact quite the contrary.

As for speaking w/ others in Verint: as you understand, I run marketing for Verint VIS. Media & Analyst queries for VIS get routed through me. However based on the nature of the query, I have the most appropriate person in the business respond. If you have questions that are going unanswered, send those to me - we will evaluate whether we can answer them and assign you the most appropriate person to talk to.

Debjit, you are misleading our readers. Please stop. This is a perfect case of why I do not want to speak with you.

First of all, Verint's total revenue is irrelevant in this context, which is about video surveillance. This would be like Honeywell saying they did $37 Billion in revenue last year, which is totally true, but equally inane.

Next, your creation of a 'security revenue' number is pointless because 2/3rds of that revenue is from Communications and Cyber. Those products may be good or bad, but they are not related to the physical security projects that IPVM covers nor the topic of this discussion, which is about surveillance recorders.

The only thing that counts here is the $119.4 from your video & situation intelligence unit.

Now, let's dig deeper into that unit. You have the 10K, there is a more recent 10Q, which shows:

Revenue continues to go down. But that's just one quarter. In fairness, let's look at the past few years. Here's 2010 - 2012:

Those years are significantly better than 2012 full and 2013 pace. But's let go back even further, back to 2007:

Verint's video current revenue is lower than it was in 2007. Please do not excuse Verint video's recent performance. The numbers and pattern are clear over a 7 year period, Verint has far underperformed its "IP Video" competitors and has been passed by many new entrants.

This morning I had a call with March Networks to get some more information about the ad. Despite the obvious dig on Verint, its main competitor, March says it wasn’t trying to make specific claims against the company, but to get the attention of Verint's customers.

“We know that there are a number of installed [Verint] solutions that are end-of-life or end-of-support,” said March Chief Marketing Officer Net Payne. March noted that the campaign also features other end-of-life ads that do not call out Verint.

As for the ad’s claims of end-of-life frustrations, March says it has not heard of any specific complaints about Verint customers having end-of-life or support issues, but that end users get concerned in general when sale of a product ends. “When we talk to our customers, what we hear consistently is concerns about end-of-life. When you end-of-life a product, a customer wants to know they’re taken care of,” he said.

What’s ironic about an end-of-life ad campaign is that March Networks has plans end-of-life its 4000-series "in the near future.” March will support it for another 3+years, it says. The company says it has been helping interested customers switch to the 8000-series (released in January).

For clarification, I did tell Verint that I would also be speaking with March Networks and wouldn't post anything from either side until I had.

To sum it up, this is absurd:

  • March runs a misleading ad. Verint is justifiably upset.
  • Instead of waiting for us to finish our due diligence, as we requested, Verint's marketing executive showcases his incompetence while allowing me to document Verint video's weak financial performance.
  • I waste a significant part of my weekend dealing with two manufacturers 95% of our members do not care about.

Props to you and Carlton, John, for making sense of that - my brain hurts trying to read what Debjit posted. And this is a "marketing executive"??

Hey Kids! Be nice. It's a small playground. Remember, if you are making products you are gong to screw up sometime and get a "turn in the box" too.

My take on the situation when March says "never", I've heard that song before. Many Fortune 100 / 500 companies have bit the dust. Never say never. The rest of the article, I ran out of popcorn.

John,

I understand your comments. I appreciate them. Wouldnt you want to give leeway to Debajit's language and concentrate on the content? I thought the whole discussion was on his competency,skills etc.

Debjit is no longer at Verint, so I am not sure what else there is to say here.