What Does Interoperability Mean?

The primary challenge to marketing a complex product, at least in our industry, is education. Communicating to a customer just how your wonderful offering will solve their problem is a non-trivial task for any piece of software more complicated than Google’s Search. Which explains why marketers act like metal filings around a magnet when they perceive that a term or a technology are having some success transcending the barriers of customer comprehension.

From compliance to SOA to cloud, our industry regularly overburdens what should be simple descriptive names with baggage they were never meant to - and should not have to - bear. And from the looks of it, interoperability may be next.

It might seem strange that interoperability - as unsexy a feature as there ever was - would suddenly become the apple of the marketing departments eye, not least because consumers are increasingly gravitating towards products for which a degree of interoperability is assumed; think Apple’s iPod, iPhone, Mac combination. But then consider that, as I told a few media outlets this week, heterogeneity is the rule of the day. And that interoperability is not.

Far from it.