So what’s in a name? Some people will tell you “everything” while others will tell you it depends on what you are naming.
Some products have not only become defined by their name but have been so successful they end up defining all products of the same type like “Kleenex” and “Band-Aid” . Others have found out that their product name can end up portraying the wrong image like Chevrolet’s Nova car – “No va” meaning “it doesn’t go” in Spanish! The French company Bull Computers also had a hard time with its “Bull” named products in North America. However, Bull also launched a clever marketing campaign around the ambiguity of its name entitled “Know Bull” which did get some attention.
At this year’s Sapphire, Sir Richard Branson told this great story of how when he went to register the name “Virgin” for his company in the UK, the company registration official turned it down because they deemed the name as rude. So Branson returned the next day with a dictionary showing the definition of “virgin” as being pure and they accepted it.
So I have been somewhat intrigued about recent forum discussions surrounding SAP’s decision to rename Xcelsius – their amazing and very popular dashboard product.
Xcelsius already had some name recognition when Business Objects acquired Infommersion (the original developers) in November 2005 but then proceeded to rename it Crystal Xcelsius. This resulted in a lot of confusion as people started to relate the product to Crystal Reports and thought it was an add-on to this report writer product. So when the next major release was developed, the decision was made to drop the Crystal name and so Xcelsius 2008 came to market.
For the last two years Xcelsius has become one of the most popular and prolifically used BI dashboard products in the marketplace and its name has become synonymous with data visualization and dynamic dashboards.
So why would you take this very well known product with such a cool and catchy name as Xcelsius and rename it SAP Crystal Dashboard Design or SAP Enterprise Dashboard Design?
Well apparently this is because SAP uses a “master brand strategy” where SAP is the master brand and the product brand name takes a back seat.
So why not SAP Xcelsius?
Well this is because SAP also uses “descriptive naming” for all its products so in the case of Xcelsius, the back seat has been completely removed!
Since “SAP Crystal Dashboard Design” is so long, it is bound to become abbreviated. However, I doubt this will be shortened to “SCDD” since a Google search points you to the “California State Council on Development Disabilities” . It is more likely to become “Dashboard Design” since that is the new descriptive product name. A Google search on “Dashboard Design” comes up with about 2.5 million results starting off with Qlikview, followed by Tableau Software then Corda and SAP Crystal Dashboard Design comes in at about number 14. Interestingly, there is little ambiguity when you search on “Xcelsius”.
Translating Dashboard Design into other languages may also prove interesting. Xcelsius will always translate into Xcelsius in all languages and I have a feeling the name will persist. At the end of the day, it is not just the name that counts, it’s the product itself. Xcelsius is as unique as a product as it is as a name. I will never forget that day in 2005 when I first saw it and was totally blown away. Infommersion created something truly amazing and ahead of its time. It remains top of its class and, for me, Xcelsius will always be Xcelsius.