The difference between a technology and a product

There seems to be a lot of confusion with the terms “product” and “technology” and I find that such confusion predominantly lies in the software industry.

A typical scenario of a software company is that a technology is designed and created that can be sold to more than one company. Once the technology’s applicability is confirmed, there seems to be the understanding that that technology has just become a product.

Some will go the extra mile and apply a brand to the technology, which may include a logo and/or website.

A product is a lot more than technology.

To begin with, a product’s sole reason for existence is that it solves a problem or creates value. Skype, as an example, solves my problem of communicating with various people across the globe avoiding the hassle of finding and organizing telephone numbers. Therefore, the purpose of Skype is to facilitate communication on-line, whether it is via text or voice. The value over time has increased, being able to hold conference calls and even facilitate collaboration through the sharing of screens though the initial challenge of communication has remained at its core, meaning the product is a constant.

Let’s look at other factors. The owner of Skype has changed. The look and feel has changed. The level of support has changed. Most definitely, the technology of Skype has evolved.

Therefore, the technology should be seen as the enabler of a product within a moment in time, or while that technology is still able to deliver upon the customer’s expectations.

Ok. So if technology is not a product, but a subset of the product, what makes a product complete?

One thought on “The difference between a technology and a product

  1. This article brought me two thoughts:

    1. People want their desired “product” now regardless if it is ready or not or whether it uses state of the art or 30 year old technology.

    2. The only point in time a product is complete is when no matter what you do to it; it will not increase it’s sells.

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