Dear Mr. Tuck:
Your recent article, "Map It Up" (Feb. 2000 issue) contained at least one serious inaccuracy about the beginnings of the desktop mapping industry, particularly as it relates to sales territory alignment. As a current survey, it did your readers a disservice by omitting mention of the most significant provider in the industry.
A review of the literature will show that development of the industry was driven by professors Andris Zoltners and Prabha Sinha at the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University in the late 1970s and early 1980s. These gentlemen were the first to implement desktop mapping for territory alignment on an Apple II in late 1981. By late 1982, MAPS was introduced on the IBM PC. Based on the interest generated in MAPS, and to assist clients with other sales management issues the two professors were researching, they founded ZS Associates in 1983. By the time Metron's TerrAlign product came on the market in 1987, ZS and its clients had already used MAPS to complete 92 sales territory alignment studies in six countries. Surprisingly, reference to ZS Associates and our MAPS territory alignment software was nowhere to be found in your Feb. 2000 article.
The April 1998 edition of your own magazine validates that ZS was the first company with desktop territory mapping tools and capabilities. It is astonishing that you would let Metron make a claim in your magazine about being the first in the market when you knew the claim to be false. Your 1998 article entitled "Territory Management: Mapping Better Sales" was much more accurate: It describes working with ZS and our MAPS software as "the ultimate trip."
We just want to set the record straight.
Marshall C. Solem, Principal
Unlike our April 1998 article--a product review, listing the author's preferred mapping products and exploring their features in detail--our February article was a general explanation of what territory mapping is and how it works. The brief vendor listing was not intended to be exhaustive. We regret, however, that we did not include ZS Associates' MAPS product. For more on ZS Associates, please visit its Web site at www.zsassociates.com