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How vendor marketing contributes to DevOps confusion

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Vendor marketing is a staple of the tech industry. Companies vie for the attention and business of potential customers by highlighting the features and benefits of their products. However, with DevOps, vendor marketing can sometimes make DevOps more confusing, especially for those new to the concept.

DevOps is a set of software development practices and culture change that emphasizes automation, continuous delivery, and continuous integration that helps organizations deliver high-quality software faster and more efficiently.

One challenge of marketing DevOps is that it can be a complex story with many tools, techniques, and practices to consider. There’s also a school of thought in the industry that says you can’t sell DevOps. It’s primarily a cultural transformation for developers and sys admins. Eventually, as DevOps matures inside an enterprise, other stakeholders, such as sales and customer success, will feel the positive nature of DevOps transformation.

This is where vendor marketing comes in to do more harm than good: to stand out from the competition, many vendors will highlight the unique features of their products and how they can help organizations achieve their DevOps goals.

However, this can often lead to confusion for those new to DevOps. With so many products and approaches, it’s challenging to determine which tools best fit a particular organization’s needs.

Vendor marketing materials may not always provide a clear or unbiased view of the pros and cons of a specific product or approach, making it even more difficult for potential customers to make informed decisions.

Another problem with vendor marketing in the DevOps space is it sometimes creates unrealistic expectations about what is possible with a particular product or approach. Vendors may make bold claims about the capabilities of their products, but in reality, achieving the promised benefits may require additional effort or resources that are not immediately apparent. This can lead to disappointment and frustration when organizations realize that their DevOps efforts are not yielding the expected results.

Vendor marketing also perpetuates buzzwords and hype in the DevOps space. With so many companies vying for attention, spinning a yarn with buzzwords that benefit the vendor can be tempting.

However, this can lead to confusion and misunderstanding, as it becomes harder to distinguish between genuine innovation and marketing hype.

So, what can mitigate the confusion caused by vendor marketing in the DevOps space? One solution is carefully researching and evaluating the various available products and approaches rather than relying solely on vendor marketing materials. This may involve seeking independent reviews and evaluations and talking to other organizations that have already implemented the products or approaches being considered.

Also, I’m fond of saying that organizations need to define DevOps for themselves, their business cases, and their people. Don’t let a vendor sales rep do it for you.

Another option is for organizations to adopt a vendor-agnostic approach to DevOps, focusing on the principles and practices most important to their specific needs rather than getting caught up in the hype surrounding particular products or processes. This may involve building in-house expertise and developing custom solutions rather than relying on off-the-shelf products.

Ultimately, the key to navigating your organization through the confusing world of DevOps vendor marketing is approaching the field is a critical eye and a willingness to do the research and evaluation to make informed decisions. By taking this approach, you can better equip your organization to find the right tools and techniques to support their DevOps efforts rather than getting caught up in the hype and confusion generated by vendor marketing.

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