One of the abiding complaints that I hear all over the publishing industry is that “technology” just don’t understand “the business”. It has always struck me as odd that these monolithic and unhelpful descriptions have been so enduring; it’s not as if technology, in all its guises, hasn’t be central to our success as an industry for at least the past 15 years. And it is hardly the case that the various functions that make up “the business” always see eye to eye, either.
Recently, however, I have seen a shift. And it has happened because we’ve started hiring Product Managers. By that I don’t me IT Product Managers (in my view a title which has contributed rather more confusion than clarity – they should really be business analysts or delivery managers). I mean *real* Product Managers – people whose job it is to define what goes into our products.
Now, at last, I’m hearing debates about the appropriate roles for Product, Sales, Marketing and Technology in bringing new products to market. And I’m hearing much less discussion about “technology” vs “The Business”. It feels we are maturing as an industry as a result.