Behind The Buzzword: Synergy

You Can’t Avoid This Classic Buzzword

Steven Lerner

Digital Transformation professionals are often inundated with a barrage of new business buzzwords. Does a particular buzzword refer to meaningful technology, or is it just another example of meaningless terminology? Each week, Enterprise Mobility Exchange publishes Behind The Buzzword, a quick overview of new technology jargon and how professionals view it.

Synergy could potentially be the poster child for annoying buzzwords in the enterprise. If there’s one thing that IT managers and line of business (LOB) managers can both agree on, it’s that synergy is one of the most overused buzzwords in the history of business. Is there even a practical meaning behind this overused word, or it is just another example of useless jargon?

At its very core, synergy refers to cooperative interaction where the combined effect of two or more parts within a business is greater than their individual parts. Synergy has been used in businesses long before you probably entered the workforce. Business articles have been referencing synergy since the 1950s and 1960s as a way to motive leaders to harness it. Although this word has been mocked as being a buzzword for decades, it is still prominent in enterprises today.

On the surface, synergy is a critical to the success of a business. The ability for different departments to collaborate or interact can make or break an organization. Large scale cooperation is also important for an enterprise to harness during digital transformation. Within an IT department, there needs to be collaboration between business process owners, database administrators, IT business analysts, and security analysts.

Despite the functionalities with synergy, this word is generally regarded as being very annoying. Some people say that the use of this word can make you sound less professional. Other people who use this word may not even know what it means. Kevin Baradet, the senior director of graduate infrastructure and technology at Cornell University, told Enterprise Mobility Exchange that synergy was the one buzzword that he was most tired of hearing.

If you’re going to use synergy in the future, use it sparingly and only during appropriate moments.

Are there any technology buzzwords or phrases that you are tired of hearing? Share them with Editor Steven Lerner by emailing