According to industry analysis* the total number of Facebook users in South Africa now exceeds 4.5 million people, while Twitter and LinkedIn are experiencing massive growth with 1.1 million and 1.5 million users respectively. What’s more, mobile Instant Messaging (IM) through applications and SMS is rapidly growing, and is expected to triple in use by 2016**. Is enterprise software development keeping up?
“Today, it’s all about social connectivity – social media, instant messaging and applications, where the traditional viewpoint of software development is fast changing,” says Malcolm Rabson, MD of Dariel Solutions. “In fact, today’s generation of software developers frequently make use of social media, yet despite the fact that these mechanisms are continuously impacting software development practices, the role of social media usage in software engineering is not well understood.”
Enterprise applications and mobility are changing businesses environments and the impact on traditional software development, particularly for the enterprise, is and will be fundamental. Adds Rabson; “While for the most part, social connectivity is still positioned as ‘fun’, it is fast moving to the business realm, where in my opinion, the traditional forms of communication for business such as email, will no longer be the dominant form of communication going forward – making way for what was once termed ‘social’ communication tools. Software development as a whole will need to mould to this change.”
Today it’s no longer just about building software architectures on time and on budget – although critically important – it’s also about ensuring that the architecture allows for end user engagement and of course, that allows integration into the alternative platforms such as mobile, IM, social media and presence tools.
“Enterprise architecture goes beyond technology today, it is the outline for current and future processes, organisational agility and differentiation. The 21st-century enterprise needs to do more than merely tick software deployment boxes, but rather it must be able to develop structures and frameworks, strategies and processes for leveraging these assets to create a distinct competitive advantage – and today this includes social media,” concludes Rabson.
*Social Media Data, Strategy Worx Consulting, 2012
**Mobile instant messaging usage expected to triple by 2016, Juniper Research, Mobile Marketer