Software development has become a platform for driving business operations. In a world filled with things such as mobile apps, cloud computing, and virtualisation, companies can no longer afford not to have ICT integration specialists on board. Yet, the commoditisation of software infrastructure brings its own challenges, says Malcolm Rabson, MD of Dariel Solutions.
“The consumerisation of technology has played a big role in this,” says Rabson. “Software is no longer something that is only driven by business strategy. Instead, it is also shaped by the need for more user-friendly and flexible solutions that fulfil a variety of needs. As with many other pieces of enterprise technology, software has become more mainstream. This has made it more accessible to a wider audience who, in turn, are putting companies under pressure to implement components of it inside the organisation.”
Software developer John Walker wrote in his blog in 2007 that the proliferation of coders and more code distributed throughout the internet, has seen the emergence of low or no-cost programs, libraries, and other bits of code. Other developers and IT professionals can latch onto these, either as is or stuffed into a complex composite application. He argues that this should not be viewed in the traditional definition of commodity but instead drive by a new way of thinking around the reduction in price and the amount of different implementation opportunities for solutions.
But even taking into account a more conservative look at commoditisation as an act of making a process, good or service easy to obtain by making it as uniform, plentiful, and affordable as possible, one can see the direction the business landscape is taking.
“Irrespective of having a consumer or business focus, software has become significantly more flexible than the bloated code of the past,” adds Rabson. “A few years ago, hardware costs were high and the unwieldy software solutions were designed to put those systems through their paces whether it was needed or not.”
However, the mobile landscape of today with smartphones, tablets, and (to a lesser extent) notebooks, necessitate solutions that are light, easy to use, and the means to an end. Consumers and business users no longer care for all the intricacies involved in solutions but instead require things to do what they are supposed to.
We have moved beyond the ‘bits and bytes’ generation and into one that operates in real-time to get the most advantage out of the systems and software used. No longer is the software industry dominated by three or four multinational organisations. Today, virtually any person can quickly drag and drop code and develop an app to fulfil a need.
“By just how much companies are willing to change to accommodate for this, only time will tell,” concludes Rabson.