Since my last two columns were about the future impact of new technologies (Microsoft's Vista and IBM's UIMA), I thought this month I'd dive back into current, messy, reality.

A persistent pitch of vendors is to standardize on their platform. According to Business Objects, Cognos, Microsoft, Oracle, SAS - name a major vendor - all you have to do is toss out their competitors' products, move to their software and your life will be blissful. You can sit back, eat bonbons and relax, due to minimal integration work, a standardized user interface and lower training costs. (I may exaggerate a little in my characterization of their messages, but not by much.)

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