I am a lifelong software guy – developer, analyst, blogger, author– and have marveled how the industry has grown around the world over the decades. The New Florence blog has number of software innovation categories, my books are chockfull of software executives and projects (the underpinnings of many innovations in the case studies in the new book are software centric)
Software is necessary, but not sufficient, even in technology projects
People will often cite Apple’s (less publicized) software assets as its secret sauce. One word should dispel that: Foxconn. Apple would be nowhere without the contract manufacturing that has churned out millions of devices at high quality, under tremendous time pressure, at unbelievable cost, and in impressive secrecy. Then there is its superb design team, its retail excellence, its standout marketing and on and on. Ditto with automobiles. Yes, cars today have millions of lines of code and better UX and mobile apps are making the experience much better. But improving design, innovations in material science, satellite support, many other STEM disciplines are just as important.
The world’s problems need a much broader set of disciplines
Large growth in the next few decades will come from the “grand challenges” that we face – related to climate, energy, food, water. Of course software will play a role in each – witness how even Monsanto picked up a Big Data play in Climate Corp. But we need organic chemists, marine biologists, quantum physicists and many other skillsets besides software skills.
Software economics are concerning
While infrastructure costs – hardware, network – etc have been declining nicely, many components of enterprise software costs have remained stubbornly high. Look at IBM, SAP and other enterprise maintenance costs. Look at their partner costs. Indian outsourcers pursuing CMM Level 5 continuous improvement mandates would deliver steady productivity. That has disappeared in the last few years. Without the productivity that cloud and mobile software has delivered it has actually been a lost decade of software un-productivity. We need much more automation,crowdsourcing, project management discipline and Moore’s Law type price/performance improvements before we can rely too extensively on software assets.
Here’s a thought – let’s all of us in software start thinking of feeding the world before we talk about eating it.
(Cross-posted @ DealArchitect Full)