The rise of democratised, productised & operationalised IT

Technology vendors are fond of slathering on layers of value-add functionality to their products in an attempt to make them more accessible, flexible and useable - is the rise of democratised, productised and operationalised technology a real advancement, or just a new marketing label?

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As a general rule of thumb, anytime you hear an IT vendor talk about how it plans to help organisations democratise, productise or operationalise a piece of technology, it’s a good idea to remember that you’re probably being fed a marketing line. But what these terms usually mean is simple enough to grasp.

Democratising technology platforms and tools typically involves making them available to any user, regardless of their level of technical know-how, often through the use of simplified interfaces, as the complexity beneath is abstracted away and masked by a new visualisation layer.

Productising is similar in some senses, but may involve the packaging of various not-previously integrated subsets of technology to form a new product or service that aims to become greater than the sum of its parts.

Then there’s operationalising technology, or the process of operationalisation. This is perhaps a combination of democratisatoin and productisation i.e. it is the process of making IT tools available more quickly, where they are needed, often with pre-aligned or provisioned qualities so that they’re ready to consume. Yes, a bit like a sandwich.

Whether we remain sceptically hesitant about these new IT labels or open up to their possible ease of use, we need to get used to IT being expressed in these terms. Doing so may allow us to know when and where we’re being sold an old product in new packaging as opposed to something genuinely new in terms of software engineering.

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